Biotechnology developed in New Zealand by LanzaTech is to be installed at ArcelorMittal’s steel mill in Ghent, Belgium, to capture carbon monoxide and convert it into ethanol.
The technology uses a customised Clostridium microbe, originally found in a rabbit’s gut, to convert the carbon monoxide.
Approximately 50% of the carbon used in the chemistry of steelmaking leaves the process as carbon monoxide. Although carbon monoxide is not itself a greenhouse gas, in steel mills it is usually burned, releasing carbon dioxide.
ArcelorMittal is by far world’s largest steel producer with steel mills in 19 countries. It expects that its Ghent plant will eventually produce 56 million litres of ethanol a year. The ethanol will be sold as a biofuel.
If the Ghent project is successful, ArcelorMittal plans to roll it out across the company’s steel mills worldwide.
LanzaTech was founded in New Zealand but moved to Illinois in 2014 after receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and tax credits from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.