The European Commission has approved a €280 million Belgian measure to support ArcelorMittal Belgium in partially decarbonizing its steel production processes.

The measure, says the European Commission, will contribute to the achievement of the EU Hydrogen Strategy, the European Green Deal and the Green Deal Industrial Plan targets, while helping to end dependence on Russian fossil fuels and fast forward the green transition in line with the REPowerEU Plan.

The €280 million measure will support ArcelorMittal's project aimed to partially decarbonize its steel production in Ghent, where it operates two blast furnaces producing liquid hot metal from a mixture of iron ore, coke and limestone.

The aid, which will take the form of a direct grant and a soft loan, will enable the construction of a direct reduction iron plant. Together with a new electric arc furnace, the plant will substitute one of the two existing blast furnaces. Natural gas will be gradually phased out of the steel production processes and the plant is planned to be ultimately operated using renewable hydrogen.

The plant is envisioned to begin operations in 2026, and it is expected to produce 2.3Mt/yr of low-carbon direct reduced iron. Once completed, the project is expected to avoid the release of above 50Mt of carbon dioxide.

‘‘This €280 million measure enables Belgium to support ArcelorMittal’s plan to decarbonize its steel production processes.''

Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president in charge of competition policy

‘‘This €280 million measure enables Belgium to support ArcelorMittal’s plan to decarbonize its steel production processes. It will contribute to the greening of the very energy-intensive steel sector, in line with the EU’s commitment to a net zero economy, and with limited distortions of competition,’’ commented Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president in charge of competition policy.