The new blast furnace is for the Sidgal 3 hot-dip galvanising line, on which Fortiform, a high-tech steel product, is developed. This new steel variety is very attractive for car-makers because parts made from it are 10 to 20 percent lighter, more fuel-efficient and therefore better for the environment. "Thanks to the new technology, customers in the automotive sector will be able to limit emissions by passenger vehicles to 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2020", according to ArcelorMittal. In addition, the new type of steel is also safer in the event of a collision. In order to produce the steel, it must be exposed to a very specific temperature curve. This is not possible with the existing furnaces.
Steel of the future
ArcelorMittal's Belgian operation is investing 250 million euros to manufacture 'the steel of the future'. The factories in Ghent and Liège are pilot sites for the development of 'Fortiform', a new generation of advanced high-strength steels for cold deformation.
Dropping anchor in North Sea Port
ArcelorMittal Ghent and North Sea Port recently announced the construction of a covered loading dock in North Sea Port: the 'All-Weather Terminal', an investment worth more than 50 million euros. Late last year, ArcelorMittal started using a new 220-metre-long quay. Thanks to the new quay – an investment by the port authority and the steel plant with European support – the supply of scrap and the removal of slag from the blast furnaces of ArcelorMittal Ghent can take place by water. The quay can also be used by other companies.
ArcelorMittal already employs more than 5,000 people in Belgium, a number that increased by more than 150 last year thanks to a variety of research projects. It is too early to estimate how many additional jobs will eventually be generated by the new furnace, the company says.