Steel has a key role to play in helping society deliver the objectives of the Paris Agreement, as it has not only an enormous potential for CO2 emissions reduction but also because it is a key enabler for other sectors. Carbon-neutral steel products can contribute to decarbonising the whole European supply chain, in a wide variety of industrial segments.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, has the ambition to lead the industry’s transition to carbon-neutral steel. The company has committed to reaching net-zero by 2050, with ArcelorMittal Europe having a target of reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030.
A significant and broad range of decarbonisation initiatives are underway in order to achieve these ambitions. Most recently, the company has launched XCarb™, an umbrella brand that bundles together all the reduced, low and zero-carbon steelmaking activities of ArcelorMittal, as well as wider initiatives and green innovation projects.
XCarb™ includes three branded initiatives: the XCarb™ innovation fund, XCarb™ green steel certificates and XCarb™ recycled and renewably produced, with the latter two initiatives being most relevant to automotive customers looking to lower their carbon footprint.
XCarb™ green steel certificates allow customers to report an equivalent reduction in their Scope 3 emissions: they are a consequence of project-based CO2 savings from iron ore reduction, by replacing fossil coal with alternative reductants or by carbon capture and utilisation. These investments are resulting in significant CO2 savings, which we add up and then pass on to our customers in the form of a certificate, which is verified by an independent auditor. When a customer buys an XCarb™ certificate from us, they effectively ‘own’ the CO2 saving and can report that saving as a reduction in their Scope 3 emissions. This approach is in accordance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.
ArcelorMittal has several decarbonisation initiatives that have contributed to the first tranche of green steel certificates being available. As more significant CO2 savings are made as a result of breakthrough technologies such as our Torero and Carbalyst projects at ArcelorMittal Gent in Belgium, a total of 600,000 tonnes of XCarb™ green steel certificates will be available by the end of 2022.
The project-based CO2 savings and the certificates themselves will be verified by DNV GL. Working with a respected and credible global certification body such as DNV GL is vital to ensure support for this initiative.
While the concept of this scheme is not new and very much reflects the Renewable Energy Certificates used in the power sector, it is a first for the steel industry. We intend our green steel certificates to set a new benchmark for the industry and are encouraging other steel producers to adopt it.
XCarb™ recycled and renewably produced applies to products made today mainly via the Electric Arc Furnace route for both flat and long products – and are therefore of interest to automotive customers. By using a high content of scrap steel and 100% renewable energy, XCarb™ recycled and renewably produced products result in extremely low CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions from an EAF can today be between 600kg and 900kg of CO2 per tonne of crude steel, but through a combination of 100% scrap and renewable energy, that figure could be brought to under 300kg per tonne. Harnessing the infinite recyclability of steel in the EAF means that end-of-life vehicles will be recycled into new steel with low CO2 emissions for a variety of industrial segments.
The electricity used in the steelmaking process is independently verified, with a ‘Guarantee of Origin’ given that it is from renewable sources. This is ensured by our purchasing of ‘Renewable Energy Certificates’ (RECs), a market-based offering that certifies the bearer owns a specific amount (in megawatt-hours) of electricity generated from a renewable energy resource.
The response to the launch of XCarb™, both our XCarb™ green steel certificates, XCarb™ recycled and renewably produced, and our innovation fund which recently announced its first US$10m investment, has been very positive. A wide range of customers across different industries have purchased certificates, and we are working intensively to generate further CO2 savings and increase the availability of certificates so more customers can benefit from what they have to offer.
To find out more about XCarb™, visit www.automotive.arcelormittal.com
Jan Bollen, Manager, Environmental aspects of products at ArcelorMittal Europe, Environmental & Climate Change affairs, and a member of the steering committee of IARC, will be one of the many industry experts in attendance at the upcoming IARC 2021 conference that will be held in Geneva, Switzerland between 23rd – 25th June 2021.
To register for this event, go to www.icm.ch/en/iarc-2021