Steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal and the ULCOS CCS Project consortium have been developing plans to retrofit post-combustion CO2 capture at the now-idled Florange steelworks in northern France. The project applied for funding from the European Commission's NER300 scheme, but it was subsequently withdrawn in late 2012 despite emerging as the only project expected to meet financial criteria. Reports at the same suggested the ULCOS project would not be shelved.
In June 2012, ArcelorMittal announced that it was keeping its steelworks closed until the end of the year due to low demand. After months of talks with the French government over permanent plant closure, ArcelorMittal announced in early December that it would keep the furnaces in working order for future use in the ULCOS project.
The demo project is expected to capture 0.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, which will be transported up to 100km by pipeline for storage in onshore saline formations. The purpose of the demo is to assess the suitability of the Florange site for retrofitting a CO2 capture and storage to an iron and steel manufacturing plant.
ArcelorMittal has set-up a wholly-owned subsidiary company, ArcelorMittal Geo Lorraine, to manage the capture, transport and injection components of the project. Construction was originally planned to begin in 2012/2013, with capture and storage starting up in 2015.
Ultra–Low Carbon dioxide(CO2) Steelmaking, or Ulcos is a consortium of 48 companies and organisations from 15 European countries - supported by the European Commission - collaborating on research and development to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from steel production. More details can be found at the initiative's dedicated website.