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ArcelorMittal (LUX) pioneers biofuel in Ghent

In a world first, ArcelorMittal will be using deep-sea microbes to convert its blast-furnace gases (BFG) into ethanol. The world’s leading steel and mining company (Luxembourg) has chosen its site in Ghent (Flanders) for this pioneering biofuel project.

ArcelorMittal will be plowing EUR 80 million into a new installation to filter all CO from its BFGs and turn them into biofuel. “For every tonne of steel, our blast furnaces currently produce one tonne of harmful gases like CO”, explains Carl De Maré, Chief Technology Officer at ArcelorMittal.

“With the new installation, however, we will transfer the CO from the blast-furnaces into a reactor with microbes living in a water bath at a constant temperature of 38°C”, added De Maré. “These deep-sea microbes don’t consume oxygen, but feed on CO and hydrogen instead. In turn, they produce ethanol, or simply put: biofuel. That way, we will reduce our carbon footprint by an estimated 120,000 tonnes, every year. In addition, the installation will produce about 60 million liters of biofuel per year.”

ArcelorMittal chose its Ghent-based site for several reasons. “In terms of technology, our factory in Ghent is one of our most advanced sites around the globe”, De Maré concluded. “What’s more, there’s a lot of expertise at the local universities, as well as available infrastructure for tank storage.”

The company’s investment will create 50 new jobs in the Ghent port area. Over the past 10 years, the Port of Ghent has already attracted EUR 500 million worth of biofuel investments, including Bioro (Cargill), Alco Bio Fuel, EuroSilo and the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant.

Reported by
De Tijd
29 June 2015

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