Belgium's Council of Ministers agreed on Friday to make €6 million available for the development of green steel.
Steel is indispensable in the modern economy, but producing it is very polluting due to the extremely high temperatures required to melt iron ore, for which coke - a type of coal - is used.
Greening steel production is not obvious, although recent developments have focused on hydrogen to generate the extremely high temperatures required. This can be done in an environmentally friendly way, for instance by using wind energy.
The federal government wants to jump on the innovation train and will release €6 million in investment aid, the Council of Ministers decided Friday, based on a proposal from Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten.
The grant, which is part of the federal hydrogen strategy, comes from the European Recovery Fund.
According to Van der Straeten, green steel is indispensable to make the switch to 100% renewable energy, and “running ahead pays off the most.”
“By going green faster, we anchor industry and jobs at home, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions,” the minister added. “Green steel is the construction material of the future with which we will build our offshore wind turbines. The polluting blast furnaces disappear, steel production remains.”
Belgium has one major steel producer in ArcelorMittal. The company already announced last year that it was investing €1.1 billion in green steel furnaces at its site in Ghent, marking one of the largest climate investments ever made in Belgium.