ArcelorMittal invests $120 million in US company to make ‘green steel’


Friday saw the Massachusetts-based Boston Metal announce a $120 million investment from ArcelorMittal, the second-largest steelmaker in the world, bringing the production of “green steel” one step closer to reality.

With the additional funding, Boston Metal will help Brazil’s commercial manufacturing get off the ground and increase output at a prototype plant in Woburn, close to Boston. The business transforms iron ore into steel using renewable energy. One of the dirtiest heavy industries in the world is steel. In the old process, which accounts for three-quarters of global output, train loads of coal are burned to heat the furnaces and power the reaction that liberates pure iron from ore.

According to the International Energy Agency, the production of steel is the industry that emits the most carbon dioxide, accounting for around 8% of global emissions. Many businesses are developing alternatives.

The ArcelorMittal cash package is the company’s carbon innovation fund’s largest single investment to date. Microsoft is another shareholder. Boston Metal’s CEO, Tadeu Carneiro, said that the company’s technology would “disrupt the industry” and is “intended to decarbonize steel production at scale.”

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was where the firm developed its technology. The founders are professors Donald Sadoway and Antoine Allanore, who are specialists in metallurgy and energy storage, respectively.

Their method separates the iron from the oxide by passing electricity through iron ore in a metal container or “cell” the size of a school bus in place of burning coal. The liquid iron is subsequently removed by operators from the bottom, according to Carneiro. Boston Metal claims that it can completely eliminate carbon dioxide from the steel it produces, and it plans to increase output to millions of tonnes by 2026. In addition, it said, it can extract metals from slag, which is typically regarded as waste.

The transition to cleaner, less climate-impacting processes in the steel industry is just getting started. In order to keep their obligations to shareholders and customers, many significant European steel producers have announced alternatives to the traditional coal-fired steelmaking process. Some automakers are now purchasing cleaner steel. Asia is where steel is made by far the most. China and Japan have both taken steps toward producing cleaner steel.