ArcelorMittal to Use Microbes to Make Fuel From Waste Gas

ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s biggest steelmaker, plans to use waste gases from its steel operations to produce low-carbon fuel for vehicles.

ArcelorMittal will work with Primetals Technologies USA LLC and LanzaTech NZ Ltd. to build an 87 million-euro ($96 million) bio-ethanol facility in Ghent, Belgium, it said Monday in a statement. The plant will produce enough fuel for about a half-million cars.

“Steel is produced through a chemical process that results in high levels of waste gases being emitted; this new technology will enable us to convert some of these waste gases into fuels that deliver significant environmental benefits when compared to conventional fossil fuels,” Carl De Mare, vice president of innovation at ArcelorMittal, said in the statement.

About half of the carbon used in steelmaking leaves the process as carbon monoxide that’s either flared or used to heat and power the steel mill, both of which result in carbon dioxide emissions, according to the statement. LanzaTech’s technology uses microbes that eat these waste gases and turn them into bio-ethanol, a low-carbon transport fuel that can be blended with conventional gasoline to reduce dirty emissions.

The plant will be built in two phases with construction of the first due to start later this year, according to the statement. The entire project is expected to be complete in 2018, when it will produce about 47,000 tons of ethanol a year.

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