A world first in steel production to preserve the environment

April 8, 2008

Today, growing steel production, usually based on carbon, generates important quantities of CO2 worldwide.

Concerned by the environment, the leading world steel producers are participating in research programs aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 50% by the year 2050.

In Luleå, in Sweden, Air Liquide has just realized a world first, on the MEFOS site (Metallurgical Research Institute). The Group has developed, built and tested a pilot plant enabling the CO2 to be separated from blast furnace gases, while at the same time recovering residual gases.

This work is being carried out within the context of the European ULCOS project (Ultra Low CO2 Steelmaking), coordinated by ArcelorMittal and involving leading European steel producers. Air Liquide is actively involved in this project. Air Liquide technology, combined with a recycling blast furnace, contributes to reduce the carbon’s consumption and hence the resulting CO2 emissions, and also, to obtain the needed pure CO2 to be stored underground. These tests have demonstrated the feasibility of the process and confirmed the improved energy efficiency of the blast furnace. The second phase of ULCOS will include an industrial-scale demonstration from 2010.

Commented François Darchis, member of Air Liquide’s Executive Committee, Senior Vice President in charge of R&D, Advanced Technologies and Engineering: "Air Liquide is constantly innovating to enable its customers to improve the efficiency of their processes and reduce their polluting emissions. Today, the Group spends 60% of its Research and Development budget on projects contributing to preserving life and the environment. Tomorrow, half of the Group's growth will come from applications linked to the environment".