ArcelorMittal Europe outlines plans for 30% carbon reduction by 2030

Image: ArcelorMittal Europe 

The target for ArcelorMittal Europe builds on its commitment to be carbon-neutral across its European operations by 2050, made in May 2019. 

The firm’s new strategy outlines three pathways to the reduction, including using clean power steelmaking, circular carbon steelmaking and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

ArcelorMittal Europe said the strategy was made in support of the European Commission’s Green Deal for the continent which was unveiled at COP25 in Madrid last week.

It said in a statement that “supportive policy to ensure a global level playing field” was key to the success of the roadmap and “the right market mechanisms are a critical part of enabling the deployment of low-emissions steelmaking”. This includes a just transition fund for research and development into green technologies, and a carbon border adjustment to the existing EU Emissions Trading System.

Low-carbon investment

ArcelorMittal Europe has already begun work on its carbon neutrality programme. It has invested €65m in reducing iron ore with hydrogen at its Hamburg site; undertaken an industrial pilot of using waste CO2 to be reinjected back into the blast furnace, reducing fossil fuels; and a waste gas capturing project that converts produce from the blast furnace and turns it into bio-ethanol.

Additionally, construction of a carbon capture and storage pilot project, 3D, will begin at ArcelorMittal Dunkirk in 2020, and will be able to capture 0.5mtCO2 an hour from steelmaking gases by 2021.

ArcelorMittal Europe’s chief executive Geert Van Poelvoorde said: “We are committed to the decarbonization of the steel industry, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the European Union’s commitment to net-zero by 2050 as announced in the Green Deal this week.

“We’ve spent the last few years testing a range of technologies and now is the time to scale up and put them into action, with the support of the EU and member states, to ensure we are able to fully decarbonise.”

Low-carbon steel

The news follows on from global metal and engineering group Liberty House’s plans to have carbon-neutral operations by 2030. In order to achieve carbon neutrality, the firm is producing steel using renewable energy and placing a focus on recycling scrap over using virgin materials.

A report by CDP this summer claimed the global steel sector is facing a vicious cocktail of climate impacts that could see water scarcity, global warming and an increased carbon price place more than 10% of the sector’s economic value at risk.

Failure to mitigate climate impacts and deliver a low-carbon future will have huge impacts on the future performance of the sector, according to the report. CDP found that 14% of the companies’ potential value is at risk as a result. This occurs in a scenario where a global carbon price reaches $100 by 2040; approximately 86% of the sector’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions are covered by existing or planned carbon prices that are much lower than this value.

The report also highlights how four companies (ArcelorMittal, Baoshan Iron & Steel, Beijing Shougang and Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel) have partnered with Lanzatech, a firm which recycles industrial waste gases and other waste streams into ethanol-based aviation fuel. The fuel is already being used by airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, which has already been trialled on commercial flights.

James Evison

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