15:37, 14 July 2021

ArcelorMittal Announces Plans for Spanish Hydrogen DRI Plant

With support from the Spanish government, ArcelorMittal, a Metal-Expo exhibitor, is investing EUR1 billion in a hydrogen-fueled direct reduction plant and will set up what it called the world’s first full-scale steel mill that emits no carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 

In an announcement Tuesday, the steelmaker said the investment provides for a 2.3-million-metric-ton direct reduction plant at its Gijón facility and modifications to its Sestao flat-rolled mill, allowing it to produce carbon-emissions-free steel. 

ArcelorMittal said the direct reduction plant would be fueled by renewably produced hydrogen, which is to be supplied by a consortium of companies that will build the infrastructure to produce it. That infrastructure is to include solar‑powered electrolysis capacity and distribution pipelines. It also involves the construction of multiple large-scale solar farms. 

Although the direct reduction DRI plant lies at the heart of the plan, the investment also calls for EUR50 million in modifications to the Sestao mill, which will increase the proportion of circular scrap and direct reduced iron (DRI) in its furnace charge and power all of its steelmaking assets with renewable electricity. ArcelorMittal said it also will introduce several key emerging technologies that will replace the remaining fossil fuel needs in its steelmaking process with carbon-neutral energy inputs. 

The plan is being backed by Spain’s government, which has signed a memorandum of understanding with the company. As part of the agreement, Spain’s government is promising “to promote reforms and investments to support the development and growth of a strong, more competitive and sustainable industrial sector, as well as endeavoring to provide maximum financial support for the project,” ArcelorMittal said. 

“Given the significant cost associated with the transition, in terms of both capex and opex, it is (our) expectation this support will cover at least half of the additional cost to enable its operations to remain competitive as it accelerates its decarbonization program,” it added. 

ArcelorMittal chief executive Aditya Mittal said that for the world to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, progress must speed up in this decade. 

“The memorandum of understanding we have signed today will play an important role in doing exactly that. The construction of the new green hydrogen DRI plant in Gijón will not only enable us to reduce emissions from our Spanish operations by half but will also result in the world’s first full-scale zero-carbon-emissions steel plant in Sestao.” 

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