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Algoma Steel out to clean the air on coke oven gas

Sault steelmaker receives $4 million from Ottawa to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
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Algoma Steel (Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday)

Algoma Steel has secured approximately $4 million from the federal government to shrink its carbon footprint through the modernization of its tar and light oil plant. 

The Sault Ste. Marie steelmaker anticipates that greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 596,000 tonnes over the 30-year lifespan of the $16-million project, which received the federal funding through the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Challenge. 

Sault MP Terry Sheehan - who was joined by Algoma Steel Chief Executive Officer Mike McQuade for the Aug.18 virtual funding announcement - said the emission reductions expected to be made over the lifetime of the project is equivalent to taking 182,000 motor vehicles off the road for one year.  

“This process will not only help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s going to also help improve local air quality, and we know how important that is,” said Sheehan. “Algoma Steel’s always been a great citizen, but this is going to help them improve local air quality even more.”

Algoma will contribute $16 million toward the project, which will see the steelmaker’s tar and light oil plant modernized by 2022. 

McQuade said the project will inject $16.5 million into the region’s economy over its lifetime. 

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“The funding provided through the low-carbon economy fund made it possible for Algoma Steel to modernize our tar and light oil plant, and shrink our carbon footprint,” said McQuade. “Through this project, we’ll optimize the capture and removal of tar and lead oils that are suspended within the coke oven gas.”

“This in turn reduces the carbon content of the coke oven gas, making it cleaner fuel when recycled in other plant combustion processes. Cleaner combustion will drive an annual reduction of approximately 21,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, amounting to a cumulative reduction of about 596,00 tonnes over the project’s lifetime.”  

Algoma Steel has already completed two projects in 2019 - rebuilding a blast furnace stove and installing a boiler preheater - with approximately $90 million in federal assistance. 

McQuade said the company's investment into the three projects will ultimately result in cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by two per cent annually.  

“Combined these projects represent a $47-million investment, and are expected to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 79,000 tonnes annually - approximately two per cent of our annual emissions."

The steelmaker looks to be in line with the federal government’s pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

“As a member of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, we aspire to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It’s an ambitious but important goal - one that requires the support of governments, research partners, customers and our supply chain along the way,” said McQuade. “The tar and light oil projects bring us one step closer to that goal.”

- SooToday