Manfred Van Vlierberghe

picture Manfred Van Vlierberghe

Manfred Van Vlierberghe

CEO ArcelorMittal Belgium

This partnership represents a unique opportunity to substitute fossil resources with alternative resources, thereby lowering our environmental footprint significantly and helping fulfill our goal of climate neutrality.

ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel producing company and has an industrial presence in 19 countries around the globe. The AM Ghent site is a fully integrated site, containing all necessary facilities to convert raw materials into steel products with high added value. Every year, 5 million tons of flat carbon steel is shipped to automotive and industrial customers. Many cars, appliances, furniture and other applications are therefore made of our steel. Employing over 5000 people, we are one of the largest private employers in Flanders.

ArcelorMittal is working hard on reducing its environmental footprint around the globe. Recently, we launched our second global Climate Action Report, reflecting on the progress of the transformation towards climate neutral steelmaking and further detailing our strategy to achieve this goal. This partnership is important for the realization of the Smart Carbon route, as described in this report.

Joeri Neutjens

picture Joeri Neutjens

Joeri Neutjens


LIFE SMART is a flagship project highlighting  CRM’s core-strategy to develop new production technologies that reduce GHG emissions whilst aiming at circular economy optimizations.

CRM Group activities are centered on the production, transformation, coating and use of metallic materials. Since 1948, CRM Group offers R&D and technology solutions focusing on the development of innovative processes and products that create value for its industrial partners. CRM Group is based in Belgium (Liège and Ghent) and operates worldwide; it combines skilled and experienced research teams with unparalleled testing facilities covering the whole manufacture chain of metals, from raw materials and energy to advanced steel applications, ranging in size from laboratory scale to pilot and even semi-industrial production lines. CRM Group takes part in the Energy shift and in the Circular Economy, in particular, with the development of low- to zero-CO2 fuels from biomass and non-reusable waste fractions by using thermal processes like torrefaction, pyrolysis and gasification.

In the LIFE SMART project, CRM Group supports ArcelorMittal in the implementation of the torrefaction process in the steel factory. Especially, CRM Group investigates the production of alternative reductants from residual waste fractions for partial substitution of the fossil fuels used at the blast furnace: the coke and the pulverized coal. To this end, it will run pilot trials on a rotary kiln specially upgraded with an electrical heating for simulating at smaller scale the industrial TORERO plant.

Tom Defeyter

picture Tom Defeyter

Tom Defeyter


Our collaboration shows how local cooperation can offer a set of opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions. Using ALTERCOAL as an alternative carbon source, we believe that we can strongly contribute to a smart lower carbon economy for local steel production.

Vanheede Alternative Fuels is a specialist in producing alternatives for fossil fuels and reductants from high-calorific industrial waste (textile, plastics, rubber, …).  We are part of the Vanheede Environment Group, which is a leading environmental company with Belgian headquarters.

These alternatives for gas, coal or cokes are produced with waste and thus are sustainable energy and carbon products being called ALTERCOAL. ALTERCOAL is mainly used in cement kilns, lime ovens, powerplants or metal production plants. And this for over 20 years now.

The production facilities of Vanheede Alternative Fuels offer a complete solution for the treatment of high-calorific non-hazardous waste streams.  During acceptance phase, all potential waste streams undergo a strict quality check. A well-defined mix of the different waste streams such as textile, plastics, rubber, cellulose, …are being shredded and depolluted.  During the production process we can make the choice to make a final product in fluff, soft or hard pellet version, depending on the needs of our customers.  Even the chemical composition may vary based on the customer needs.

Consequently, we can pretend that our valorisation of waste has some enormous environmental benefits.  Firstly, Vanheede Alternative Fuels offers a suitable alternative for the transfer of waste into alternative products that replaces expensive and increasingly scarce raw fossil materials.  This enables a strong CO2 reduction.  Besides this, during the combustion of reduction phase, many valuable materials such as minerals and carbon are released and reused in the production process.

Moreover, our secondary fuels and reductants contain up to 50 % of carbon neutral biomass coming from cellulose-rich materials and natural fibres. This helps significantly to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Kim Verbeken

picture Kim Verbeken Kim Verbeken

Full professor Ghent University, Head of research group Sustainable Materials Science
The LIFE-SMART-project will recover the unrecyclable, it will create value out of what is wrongly regarded as waste by most people. My research group is excited to be part of this project which will be key in helping to close the carbon loop

Ghent University is a pluralistic university open to all, regardless of ideological, political, cultural or social background. Our credo is ‘Dare to Think’. Ghent University was founded in 1817. As a top 100 university with more than 47,000 students and 15,000 staff members, we are one of the largest universities in the Dutch language area, located in Flanders, Belgium. Ghent University Global Campus is also the first European university in Songdo, South Korea. Our 11 faculties offer more than 200 courses and conduct in-depth research within a wide range of scientific domains. Several of our research groups, centres and institutes are renowned worldwide.

You will find many eminent scientists among our alumni, such as Nobel Prize winners Corneel Heymans and Maurice Maeterlinck, Leo Baekeland, Joseph Guislain, Walter Fiers, Marc Van Montagu, … as well as prominent people such as Robert Cailliau (pioneer of the Internet), Dirk Frimout (astronaut), Peter Piot (United Nations) or Jacques Rogge (former president IOC).

Within the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Kim Verbeken and Inge Bellemans are supervising multiple PhD students in the research group on Sustainable Materials Science. One of their research topics is related to the study of high-temperature metallurgical processes from both a modelling and experimental perspective. Metallurgical processes play a key role in making our society more sustainable, whether it is recycling precious metals from e-waste or assessing alternative reductants within the blast furnace.