ArcelorMittal and Vestas Form Strategic Alliance to Enhance Low-Carbon Steel in Wind Energy
ArcelorMittal and Vestas Form Strategic Alliance to Enhance Low-Carbon Steel in Wind Energy

ArcelorMittal and Vestas Form Strategic Alliance to Enhance Low-Carbon Steel in Wind Energy

  • 17-Jan-2024 4:38 PM
  • Journalist: Timothy Greene

Vestas, a leading wind turbine manufacturer, has forged a strategic alliance with ArcelorMittal to introduce a groundbreaking low-emission steel solution designed to significantly diminish the lifetime carbon dioxide emissions associated with the production of wind turbine towers. This pioneering initiative underscores the commitment of both companies to sustainability within the wind energy sector.

The innovative low-emission steel is crafted exclusively from 100 percent steel scrap, subjected to the melting process in an electric arc furnace powered entirely by wind energy at ArcelorMittal's Industeel Charleroi steel mill, located in Belgium. Subsequently, the transformed steel slabs are shaped into heavy plates essential for constructing wind turbine towers at ArcelorMittal's heavy plate mill in Gijon, Spain. This entire process, from scrap to heavy plate production, is powered by renewable energy sources, exemplifying a holistic commitment to environmentally friendly steel production.

The application of this low-emission heavy plate steel extends to both onshore and offshore wind turbine towers, demonstrating its versatility within the wind energy landscape. The steel, with its reduced carbon footprint, aligns with the broader industry's sustainability goals and addresses the environmental impact associated with traditional steelmaking methods.

What sets this initiative apart is the transparency and accountability embedded in the product. The low-emission heavy plate steel comes with an independently certified Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), offering a comprehensive insight into the environmental footprint of the material. This certification not only enhances transparency in product information but also enables stakeholders to make informed decisions based on sustainability criteria.

In the realm of offshore wind energy, the adoption of low-emission steel in the upper two sections of wind towers is anticipated to yield a substantial reduction in emissions. Specifically, this approach is expected to achieve approximately a 25 percent reduction in emissions compared to towers produced using conventional steelmaking methods. For onshore wind turbine towers, the reduction in CO2 emissions is even more significant, estimated to be at least 52 percent. This reduction is particularly noteworthy, considering that steel and iron constitute a substantial proportion of a wind turbine's material mass and contribute significantly to its total lifecycle emissions.

The collaboration between Vestas and ArcelorMittal is not merely symbolic; it represents a critical advancement in mitigating the carbon footprint across the entire wind energy supply chain. Given that steel and iron account for 80-90 percent of a wind turbine's material mass and about 50 percent of its total lifecycle emissions, the use of low-emission steel in the construction of wind turbine towers becomes a pivotal component in achieving a more sustainable wind energy ecosystem.

While low-emission steel is not yet a standard offering from Vestas, the first project slated to benefit from this sustainable material is the Baltic Power Offshore Wind Project, located off the coast of Poland. Set to commence construction in 2025, this offshore wind farm, with an anticipated capacity of up to 1.2 GW, will play a significant role in providing clean electricity to over 1.5 million households in Poland. Vestas, as a key player in this endeavor, will be responsible for supplying, installing, and commissioning 76 V236-15.0 MW wind turbines, with the top sections of 52 towers crafted from low-emission steel.

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