Europe’s first carbon capture and utilization project

ArcelorMittal’s Steelanol team celebrate the first production of ethanol in Gent, Belgium. Photo courtesy of ArcelorMittal.

ArcelorMittal announced in early November the first industrial production of ethanol at its Steelanol plant, Europe’s first carbon capture and utilization (CCU) project.

The milestone was achieved on Nov. 7 at the company’s Gent, Belgium plant. The first industrial-scale production is a significant step in the journey to the full commissioning of the Steelanol plant. Throughout the project, ArcelorMittal has worked with partners LanzaTech, Primetals Technologies, and E4Tech.

Biorecycling tech. The Steelanol plant captures carbon-rich industrial gases from steel production and biologically converts them into ethanol using LanzaTech’s carbon biorecycling process.

According to ArcelorMittal, LanzaTech’s technology works like a brewery, but instead of yeast consuming sugar, proprietary bacteria known as a biocatalyst consume carbon gas and convert it into essential chemical building blocks such as ethanol.

The Gent plant was inaugurated in December 2022, followed by cold commissioning.

Then, the biocatalyst was introduced into the plant (a process known as inoculation) to start the growth of the microorganisms and verify the production of new molecules. In June 2023, the first samples containing ethanol were produced in the inoculator.