Major Breakthrough: One ton of maritime fuel produced per day from steel off-gases

Major Breakthrough: One ton of maritime fuel produced per day from steel off-gases

The FReSMe consortium has achieved a major breakthrough by producing one ton of low emission methanol per day from real blast furnace gas. This is the first demonstration that the valorisation of residual steel gases is feasible at large scale using actual blast furnace gas.

This opens the door to further scaling up low carbon technologies for the production of both steel and methanol with a low climate impact. In the FReSMe project two steel companies, SSAB and Tata Steel Nederland, committed to drastically reduce the climate impact of the steel making process, have joined forces to demonstrate that with the right technologies methanol can be made effectively from their works arising gases.

Cutting-edge technology

FReSMe concept relies on the STEPWISE technology, developed by TNO, to capture CO2 present in the Blast Furnace gas of a steel mill in a highly energy efficient manner while producing a high value hydrogen rich stream. Both CO2 and hydrogen are used to produce valuable methanol using Carbon Recycling International’s proprietary technology. FReSMe will use green hydrogen produced through water electrolysis to maximise CO2 use while any excess CO2 captured can be transported and stored allowing for a deep decarbonisation of steel making.

Some project participants with a bottle of methanol.

The technology developed in the FReSMe project is highly scalable and can be deployed in existing steel mills while methanol sales provide a more attractive business case for steel producers. Methanol is a highly versatile chemical with multiple applications. For instance, it can also be used as a marine fuel replacing fossil fuels. Methanol produced using FReSMe technology will be used to power Stena Germanica ferry connecting Gothenburg in Sweden, to Kiel in Germany. Methanol is a clean burning fuel that complies with the strictest pollution regulations in place.

The project started in November 2016 and the pilot plant, located at Swerim facilities next to SSAB steel mill in Luleå, Sweden, is producing one ton of methanol per day from blast furnace gas delivered by SSAB.

Tanks low emission methanol.

Steel production accounts for 6-8% of the global emissions. Primary steel production is a highly efficient process but between 1.6 and 2 tons of CO2 are emitted per every ton of steel produced. The European Commission has targeted the steel sector as one of its key priorities for technology research and innovation with the aim of developing efficient and decarbonised industrial processes. From Residual Steel Gases to Methanol (FReSMe) project which builds on the successes from two projects, STEPWISE and MefCO2, to develop a scalable and competitive carbon capture and utilisation technology.

Being able to apply cutting edge technology for CO2 capture and methanol production is a milestone in the decarbonisation in hard to abate sectors such as steel production. Methanol represents a big opportunity to reduce fossil fuel use in sectors such as long distance marine transport where electrification is not feasible. FReSMe creates symbiotic relations between different industrial sectors and contributes to the European Union decarbonisation effort.

About the consortium

The FReSMe consortium is composed of 11 European partners:

  • i-deals (Spain) is the strategy consulting division of everis (an NTT Data company). i-deals leads the coordination, dissemination and exploitation of the project results.
  • TNO (The Netherlands) has developed the STEPWISE technology, relying on the SEWGS (
  • Swerim (Sweden) is metal research institute which provides its testing facilities for FReSMe’s pilot plant.
  • Carbon Recycling International – CRI (Iceland) is the world leader in power to methanol technology using CO2 and hydrogen to produce methanol for fuel applications, greener chemicals and products.
  • NIC – National Institute of Chemistry (Slovenia) is in charge of process engineering. Reactor and unit operation design and multi-scale process modelling.
  • Politecnico di Milano (Italy) conducts the techno-economic assessment and the Life Cycle Analysis to assess the environmental impact of FReSMe technology.
  • SSAB (Sweden) is one of the main European manufacturers and supplies Blast Furnace Gases from its Lulea plant adjacent to FReSMe’s pilot plant.
  • Kisuma Chemicals (The Netherlands) is the world leader in hydrotalcite based materials used as sorbent in SEWGS capture unit.
  • Array Industries (The Netherlands) is a technology leader in emission control technologies and supplies gas conditioning units for CO2 and hydrogen.
  • Tata Steel (The Netherlands) is one the main steel producers in the world and provides its expertise for technology validation, scale-up and integration in steel mills.
  • Stena Rederi (Sweden) is one of the largest ferry operators and pioneer in the use of methanol marine fuel. FReSMe low emission methanol will be tested in Stena Germanica ferry.

FReSMe the movie

You can watch the extended version here.


This project has received funding from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme (Grant number 727504)

Further information

Magnus Lundqvist
T. +46 (0)70 264 50 10

Cristina Cabeza
T. 917 49 00 00 / +34 628 917 869

Ezequiel González
T. 917 49 00 00 / +34 648 06 63 30

FReSMe project web page:

This project has been carried out within the Metnet network. This network consists of several pilot plants in Europe, covering many different aspects of mineral processing, metallurgy and production of metals. Through Metnet the customers have access to a network of knowledge that can work cross-sectorial and innovatively by combining the expertise of all members. You can find more about the METNET network here.

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