ArcelorMittal and John Cockerill announced plans to construct what the companies say is the world’s first industrial-scale, low-temperature iron electrolysis plant. The Volteron plant, which in a first phase will produce between 40,000 and 80,000 metric tons a year of iron plates, is targeted to start production in 2027. Once the technology has been proven at this scale, the intention is to increase the plant’s annual capacity to between 300,000 and 1 million metric tons.

Volteron is a carbon-free, cold direct electrolysis process that extracts iron from iron ore using electricity. On a pilot-scale plant, the process has proved to be highly efficient using standard iron ore. The iron plates created during the electrolysis process are then processed into steel in an electric-arc furnace (EAF).