Luxembourg-headquartered steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal today announced a group-wide commitment to being carbon neutral by 2050.

The decision builds on the commitment made in 2019 for ArcelorMittal's European business to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Commenting on the 2050 net zero target, Aditya Mittal, President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), said: “If the world is to achieve net zero by 2050 it will require all parts of the economy in all regions of the world to contribute. As the world’s leading steel company, we believe we have a responsibility to lead the efforts to decarbonise the steel-making process, which today has a significant carbon footprint". He added: “Steel will remain a vital material for our world and indeed is the most circular of all materials. Our challenge is to be able to make steel using clean energy technologies on a commercial scale, while remaining competitive in the global steel industry".

ArcelorMittal has identified two low-emissions steelmaking routes, both of which have the potential to lead to carbon-neutral steelmaking:

  1. The Hydrogen-DRI route, which uses hydrogen as a reducing agent. A demonstration plant in Hamburg, where ArcelorMittal owns Europe’s only operational DRI-EAF plant, is currently planned with a targeted start-up in 2023;
  2. The Smart Carbon route is centred around modifying the blast furnace route to create carbon neutral steelmaking through the use of circular carbon and carbon capture and use (CCU) and storage (CCS). The company is well advanced on constructing several commercial-scale projects to test and prove a range of Smart Carbon technologies. Start-up target for key projects is targeted in 2022.

While both routes have the potential to deliver carbon-neutral steel by 2050, ArcelorMittal expressed its belief that Smart Carbon can deliver results sooner and make a significant contribution to CO2 emissions reduction this decade, while industrial scale production from the Hydrogen-DRI route is unlikely to be significant before 2030 due to the current high costs.

ArcelorMittal will set out further detail in support of its 2050 net zero target in its second climate action report, which is anticipated to be published before the end of 2020.