Steelanol recycles carbon into sustainable, advanced bio-ethanol

We capture carbon from an industrial source and recycle it, just like we do with glass, paper and plastic.

About us

We will be transforming carbon-rich industrial waste gases into advanced bio-ethanol for use in the transport sector by way of a novel gas-fermentation technology.

The technology that will be developed and proven in this project will allow for the capture and reuse of a portion of carbon emitted by the steel industry without need to rebuild the BAT (Best Available Technologies) steel plant while supplying the transport sector with high grade biofuel, that does not compete in any way with food crops or land for food crops. It should also be noted that while other renewable sources such as water and wind can be used to create electricity, fuels require carbon and thus cannot be created without a carbon-rich source. This technology therefore provides the unique opportunity to recycle the carbon from industrial exhaust rich gases that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. By proving the compatibility of this technology with the high quality requirements of fuel grade fuels, the partners will demonstrate the application potential of this process – that could potentially lead to the displacement of a high amount of fossil fuels in the transport sector and beyond.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 656437. Any communication activity related to the action must indicate that it reflects only the authors view and that the Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Experience the process

The process for ethanol production at the steel mill in Ghent makes use of a technology developed by LanzaTech, whereby gases produced during the chemistry of steel production are fermented by microbes that secrete ethanol.

This innovative process is unlike today's available commercial ethanol production technologies, and as such its novelty presents challenges and opportunities. The environmental characteristics of all types of fuel must be fully understood so stakeholders can consider the impacts of different fuels and their role in the future energy mix.

E4tech will develop a life cycle assessment (LCA) based on data from the plant in Ghent that will provide insights into the environmental performance of this type of ethanol. Not only will it give an overview of the likely greenhouse gas emissions associated with it, but it will also present impacts on other potential areas of environmental concern. This will enable policy makers and other stakeholders to compare this ethanol with other types of fuel and understand its relative merits and benefits to society. Project partners will be able to work with the LCA results in order to optimise the ethanol production from an environmental perspective both in the plant in Ghent and in potential future installations.

Primetals Technologies will be responsible for the engineering, automation, key equipment and commissioning.

ArcelorMittal will coordinate the project as well as operating and maintaining the demonstrator.

with the support of the European commision

European Union has confirmed its support to the breakthrough pilot project at ArcelorMittal Ghent.

Via the Horizon 2020 program a subsidy of 10.2 Meuro has been granted to the construction of the new production facility and the startup phase. The project was named ‘Steelanol’ referring to Steel + Ethanol. The objectives of Steelanol are fully in line with the H2020-LCE-12-2014-2 (Low Carbon Energy) challenges and expected impact of testing advanced biofuel technologies at large industrial scale to reduce technological risks, paving the way for subsequent commercial-scale industrial demonstration projects.

Building the future

Steelanol produces first ethanol

This week saw the first step toward full operation of the demonstration facility that will capture carbon-rich waste gases from steelmaking and biologically convert them into advanced ethanol through LanzaTech’s bio-based process. Unlike traditional fermentation, the process ferments gases instead of sugars and uses a biocatalyst instead of yeast. The facility was inaugurated in December 202...
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Waste steel gas introduced at the Steelanol facility

The commissioning of the installations has progressed to a stage that live blast furnace gas could be introduced. The gas is transported from the neighbouring steel plant via a large pipeline to inject 90 000 Nm3/hour of gas to feed the LanzaTech biocatalyst that will convert this carbon rich gas into ethanol....
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