ArcelorMittal, the world largest steelmaker outside China, has completed its first XCarb™ innovation fund investment with an initial investment of US$ 10 million in a renewable energy company, Heliogen.
ArcelorMittal started the XCarb initiative in March 2021. Besides the $10 million investment, ArcelorMittal and Heliogen have agreed to explore the potential of Heliogen’s technology in the company other steel plants.
Heliogen focuses on using sunlight to produce various forms of energy, including making green hydrogen. Heliogen’s technology is based on solar energy by using a field of mirrors to work as a multi-acre magnifying glass to concentrate and capture sunlight, which then converted into heat (HelioHeat™), electricity (HelioPower™) or clean fuels (HelioFuel™).
The solar-based energy has the potential to decarbonise the steelmaking industry, while the heat can be used to increase the temperature of air blown into a blast furnace, replacing the use of fossil fuel.
Similarly, the Heliogen technology can produce green hydrogen under its clean fuel brand HelioFuel™. Hydrogen has an essential role play in the decarbonisation of the steel industry in the coming years. ArcelorMittal is working on an Innovative-DRI technology replacing natural gas with hydrogen as the reductant in the production of direct reduced iron.
Pinakin Chaubal, Chief Technology Officer, ArcelorMittal, said, “The objective of our XCarb™ Innovation fund is to extend our reach and support companies developing technologies which could assist us on our decarbonisation journey.”
He further added, “The MoU we have signed means we are actively exploring working with them to deploy their technologies in our steel plants, enhancing our ongoing programme of decarbonisation initiatives.”
Bill Gross, CEO and Founder, Heliogen, said, “Heliogen’s Sunlight Refinery™, which will cost-effectively deliver 24/7 carbon-free energy in the form of heat, electricity, or hydrogen fuels at scale for the first time in history, was designed for use by a spectrum of industries, including steel.”
In March this year, Heliogen also signed an agreement with Rio Tinto (an International mining and metals company) to explore the deployment of Heliogen’s solar technology at Rio Tinto’s borates mine in Boron, California. Under the agreement, Heliogen will use solar heat to generate and store carbon-free energy to power the mine’s industrial processes. The aim is to start operations in 2022. Both partners will then explore the potential for the technology at Rio Tinto’s other operations worldwide for supplying heat, which accounted for 14% of Scope 1 & 2 emissions from the Group’s managed operations in 2020.