Green steel innovator Electra secures $85 million backing
Green steel innovator Electra has secured $85 million in backing from a group of leading investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, founded by Bill Gates, Amazon and BHP Ventures, to back the plans for the company aiming to develop and evolve its zero-emissions technology.
The US company says its new process for producing iron ore and steel emits zero CO2 emissions while having the potential to cost the same or even less than existing methods powered by fossil fuels.
He claims he can electrochemically refine ore into pure iron at low temperatures of just 140 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing him to use renewable electricity to power the process, before then converting the iron into steel using existing infrastructure or electric arc furnaces.
By comparison, almost 70% of the world’s steel today is made at around 2,912F using fossil fuels such as coal, which emits around two tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every tonne of carbon dioxide. steel produced, according to Electra.
The company therefore believes that its Oxygen-Decoupled Electrolysis (ODE) process overcomes key challenges in decarbonizing steelmaking and iron ore refining processes, both of which are significant global emitters of greenhouse gas.
The company believes that its “oxygen-decoupled electrolysis (ODE)” process overcomes key challenges in decarbonizing steelmaking and iron ore refining processes.
Additionally, he claims his technology offers greater advantages over other burgeoning green steel solutions, such as hydrogen furnaces, as it is able to use lower-grade ores containing only 35 % iron and reduces some material processing costs.
Overall, Electra believes its process has the potential to eliminate iron ore conversion emissions, which it says account for up to 90% of steelmaking emissions.
“Electra’s iron is the fulcrum to decarbonize steel production and reduce risk in the iron ore challenge,” said Electra CEO Sandeep Nijhawan. “Our team, starting from a blank sheet, developed an electrochemical process to refine iron ore into high purity iron by drastically lowering the process temperature of [2,912 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit], replacing coal power with intermittent renewables, and replacing commercial ores with lower-grade ores that are not used or currently treated as waste today. We also have a historic opportunity to decentralize the global iron and steel supply chain and relocate manufacturing and mining jobs.”
Electra plans to complete construction of its first pilot iron ore refining plant at its Colorado headquarters next year as it pursues its broader goal of having its first commercial-scale plant operational. before the end of the decade. The company said it also aims to forge additional partnerships across the steel value chain to accelerate the transition to green steel.
The company also aims to forge additional partnerships across the entire steel value chain to accelerate the transition to green steel.
Carmichael Roberts, chief investment officer of Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ investment committee, said decarbonizing ironmaking was “essential to a zero-carbon future and an unparalleled trillion-dollar market opportunity.”
“The electrification of cost-effective ironmaking without carbon emissions is a paradigm shift in the way steel has been made for centuries by burning fossil fuels,” he said. “We are proud to have supported Electra in this critical mission since its inception.”
Other investors backing the company in its latest investment round include Temasek, S2G Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group, Lowercarbon Capital, Valor Equity Partners and Baruch Future Ventures.
Global steelmaking is estimated to account for 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions and is seen as a key sector to decarbonise in order to meet global climate goals, given that the material is essential for a range of clean technologies, including electric vehicles and wind turbines.
“Steel is needed to make everything from automobiles to buildings, and it’s one of the hardest sectors to decarbonize,” said Matt Peterson, director of the Climate Pledge Fund at Amazon. “Amazon is proud to invest in Electra’s green iron technology, which is an important step towards making steel more sustainable and towards Amazon’s broader goal of achieving net zero carbon. here 2040.”