Torrefaction is the name for the thermal process which converts biomass into a coal-like material. The torrefied biomass has significantly better energy output than the original biomass. And it eliminates the need for pulverized coal which will reduce ArcelorMittal’s CO2emissions
ArcelorMittal is developing a Torero (TORefying wood with Ethanol as a Renewable Output) plant which will convert waste wood into a biocarbon that is suitable for the blast furnaces process. In the early stage, the Torero plant will convert 120,000 tons of waste wood into around 50,000 tons of bio-coal annually. The plant is expected to come onstream by the end of 2020.
As part of the same project, ArcelorMittal Gent is also demonstrating the use of torrefaction. In the Gent blast furnace, carbon from waste biomass is used to replace coal.
The source material is waste wood, typically from demolition sites. Until recently, municipalities in Europe have collected and incinerated this wood.
Torrefaction turns the waste wood into a type of charcoal which is then ground and injected into the blast furnace. Instead of being wasted, the carbon contained the wood is used to make steel. This pilot project will be fully tested before ArcelorMittal looks at options to scale it up to full production.