14 July 2021

World’s first full-scale zero carbon emissions steel plant set for Spain

Facility could produce 1.6 million tonnes of zero carbon steel by 2025.

© Christopher Burns/Unsplash

ArcelorMittal says its Sestao facility in Spain will become the world’s first full-scale zero carbon emissions steel plant.

The development is the result of a deal signed with the Government of Spain that will see an investment of €1bln in the construction of a green hydrogen direct reduced iron (DRI) plant in Gijón, as well as a new hybrid-electric arc furnace (EAF).

It is hoped that by 2025, the Sestao plant – which manufactures a range of flat steel products for the automotive and construction sectors, and general industry – will produce 1.6 million tonnes of zero carbon emissions steel.

The company aims to achieve this by changing the metallic input by increasing the proportion of circular, recycled scrap, and using green hydrogen-produced DRI from Gijón in its two existing EAFs; powering all steelmaking assets (EAFs, rolling mill, finishing lines) with renewable electricity; and introducing several key emerging technologies that will replace the small, remaining use of fossil fuel in the steelmaking process with carbon-neutral energy inputs, such as sustainable biomass or green hydrogen.

Central to this development will be the construction of a 2.3 million tonne green hydrogen DRI unit in Gijón. Around 1 million tonnes of DRI will be transported to Sestao to be used as a feedstock for its two EAFs. 

Commenting, Aditya Mittal, CEO at ArcelorMittal, says, 'It is widely understood that for the world to achieve net-zero by 2050, faster progress over the next decade is essential.  Having announced a net-zero target for 2050, we therefore set ourselves the challenge to identify how we could take an existing steel plant to zero carbon emissions within the next five years. Our teams have been working incredibly hard to turn this ambition into the plan that we have announced today. This is a hugely significant development and demonstrates the strength of innovation embedded in our people, our unparalleled technology leadership, and what can be achieved through investment in existing steelmaking infrastructure. It means ArcelorMittal will be the first company in the world to be in a position to offer its customers meaningful volumes of zero carbon-emissions steel.'

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