BHP backs emissions-free steelmaking startup


Mining company BHP is one of the investors in a $US 50 million Series B round for Boston Metal, a US startup developing an emissions-free steelmaking technology.

The investment was through the Australian company’s BHP Ventures division. The size of the backing was not disclosed, but The Australian Financial Review reports it is “understood to be close to $US10 million ($13 million)”.  

Boston Metal is an MIT spinout company with a “molten oxide electrolysis” process able to turn raw oxide form materials into high-purity metal products. According to the company it is suitable for a ” wide variety of metals and alloys from a wide variety of feedstocks.”  The company says the round will support validation of its technology at industrial-scale, building its team, and beginning trials with partners. 

BHP has said it aims to reduce its scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, which carbon dioxide-free steelmaking would help. (Scope 3 emissions are those produced in the wider economy as a consequence of a business’s activities, for example turning iron ore into steel in BHP’s case. Scope 1 are from the direct result of a business’s activities and Scope 2 are “from the indirect consumption of an energy commodity”.) 

“Steel production has relied on the same basic formula for millennia, and revolutionizing such an industry requires a rare combination of team, technology, and partners,” said said Tadeu Carneiro, Chairman and CEO of Boston Metal in a statement. 

“With this new round of funding, Boston Metal has brought together all of these elements and is positioned to deliver a future where steel production is efficient, modular and clean.”  

A tonne of steel currently produces roughly two tonnes of carbon dioxide in the process.

Picture: Boston Metal

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