Decarbonising ArcelorMittal’s Spanish operations

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on 13 July 2021 between ArcelorMittal and the Spanish government demonstrates mutual intent to work together towards a decarbonised Spanish economy – a necessity for industries such as steel to successfully transition to carbon neutrality. As a result, new manufacturing processes at ArcelorMittal’s Spanish operations will include a new direct reduced iron (DRI) unit and electric arc furnace (EAF) installation in Gijón that will reduce carbon emissions at ArcelorMittal’s Spanish operations by approximately 50%. The DRI installation in Gijón will also enable ArcelorMittal Sestao to become the world’s first full-scale zero carbon emissions* steel plant.

ArcelorMittal signs MoU with the Spanish Government supporting €1 billion investment in decarbonisation technologies

The MoU signed with the Spanish Government will see a €1 billion investment in decarbonisation technologies at ArcelorMittal Asturias’ plant in Gijón. The investments will reduce CO2 emissions at ArcelorMittal’s Spanish operations by up to 4.8 million tonnes, which represents approximately 50% of emissions, within the next five years**.

At the heart of the plan is a 2.3 million-tonne green hydrogen DRI unit, complemented by a 1.1 million-tonne hybrid EAF. This starts the transition of the Gijón plant away from the blast furnace-basic oxygen furnace steelmaking production route to the DRI-EAF production route, which carries a significantly lower carbon footprint. The new DRI - which will be the first of its kind in Spain - and EAF will be in production before the end of 2025, with construction anticipated to begin in 2022.

Expressing support for the plan, Spain’s Minister of Industry María Reyes Maroto stated that “the Government of Spain and the ArcelorMittal Group fully agree that the transition towards a decarbonised economy is an essential objective for Spain, and they both recognise the industrial, technological, and regulatory challenges that this transition poses for Spanish industry, as well as the opportunities it offers in terms of innovation and improved competitiveness.”

ArcelorMittal Sestao to become the world's first full-scale zero carbon emissions steel plant

Harnessing green hydrogen and renewable electricity, ArcelorMittal’s Sestao plant will become the world’s first full-scale zero carbon emissions* steel plant by 2025. This development is the result of the MoU that will see the construction of the green hydrogen DRI plant in Gijón. The Gijón DRI will feed the company’s Sestao plant, situated approximately 250km from Gijón, where production is already entirely from the EAF route.

By 2025, the Sestao plant – which manufactures a range of flat steel products for the construction sectors (among others) - will produce 1.6 million tonnes of zero carbon emissions steel by:

  • 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.
  • Powering all steelmaking assets (EAFs, rolling mill, finishing lines) with renewable electricity.
  • 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.

Speaking at the signing of the MoU in Gijón, Aditya Mittal, CEO ArcelorMittal, said that “it is widely understood that for the world to achieve net zero by 2050, faster progress over the next decade is essential. The MoU we have signed today will play an important role in doing exactly that.  The construction of the new green hydrogen DRI plant in Gijón will not only enable us to reduce emissions from our Spanish operations by half but will also result in the world’s first full-scale zero carbon emissions steel plant in Sestao.”

Looking further ahead, ArcelorMittal has also committed to achieving net zero*** at the Sestao plant as soon as possible.

ArcelorMittal Europe Communications

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*On a Scope 1 and 2 basis.
**Should green hydrogen not be available at affordable rates by the end of 2025, natural gas would be used to power the DRI furnace. This would still result in a very significant reduction in CO2 emissions of 4 million tonnes - approximately 45%.
***Net zero meaning across Scopes 1, 2, and 3.