Green steel production was one step closer to reality on Friday when Massachusetts-based Boston Metal announced a $120 million investment from the world's second-largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal.
Financial The global steel giant's stake is the largest single investment made to date by ArcelorMittal's carbon innovation fund. Another investor in the Massachusetts project is Microsoft.
Tadeu Carneiro, CEO of Boston Metal, said his technology is "destined to massively decarburize steel production" and "will explode the industry."
Boston Metal will use the cash injection to expand production at the Woburn pilot plant near Boston and help launch commercial production in Brazil. The company uses renewable electricity to convert iron ore into steel.
The company's technology was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The founders are Professors Donald Sadoway and Antoine Allanor, experts in energy storage and metallurgy respectively.
Instead of burning coal, their process passes electricity through iron ore in a metal box or "cell" the size of a school bus to separate the iron from oxygen. The liquid iron is then harvested from the bottom of the cell.
Boston Metal said it can completely eliminate carbon dioxide from its steel production and hopes to increase production to over a million tonnes by 2026. As a bonus, the company can extract metals from slag, which is usually considered waste.
It will be years before "green steel" is mass-produced, according to Carneiro. “It takes time to evolve and expand for traditional and conservative industries to make a difference.”