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Comment Sustainability

ArcelorMittal to convert Sestao, Spain site into full-scale zero-carbon steel plant

By Mary Page Bailey |

ArcelorMittal (Luxembourg) announced that its Sestao plant in Spain will become the world’s first full-scale zero carbon-emissions steel plant.

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

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 by:

  1. 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.
  2. Powering all steelmaking assets (EAFs, rolling mill, finishing lines) with renewable electricity.
  3. 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 a feedstock for its two EAFs.

The national and the Basque government’s support in this project is crucial, firstly from a funding perspective, given the significant cost associated with the transition to carbon-neutral steelmaking. Secondly, because it will enable ArcelorMittal to have access to green hydrogen supplied through a consortium of companies that will cooperate in the construction of the infrastructure required in order to produce hydrogen in the Iberian Peninsula using solar‑powered electrolysis and to transport it directly through a network of pipelines. The initiative involves the construction of multiple large-scale solar farms, with hydrogen produced in situ and with the corresponding impact in terms of employment.

In addition to the investments in the DRI and EAF installations in Gijón, ArcelorMittal will invest €50 million in Sestao. This will fund the introduction of key emerging technologies required to bring the plant to zero carbon-emissions, supporting 1.6 million tonnes of production.

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