June 12, 2024

Workers at a furnace operated by Boston Metal

Workers at a furnace operated by Boston Metal
Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe (Getty Images)

A Boston startup that has been seeking ways to manufacture steel without using carbon has just been given a big honor from a major business magazine. Fast Company announced Wednesday that Boston Metal is the winner in the climate category for its 2024 edition of the World Changing Ideas Awards.

“Its Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE) technology combines iron ore with a liquid oxide electrolyte and uses electricity — not coal — to heat all those ingredients to about 1,600 degrees Celsius to produce pure liquid iron,” the magazine wrote in an article explaining the accolade.

In traditional steel manufacturing, iron ore is heated with coal to convert it to iron oxide, the main component in steel. This process releases a large amount of climate-altering carbon into the atmosphere: Old-school steelmaking is responsible for upwards of 8% of global carbon emissions. So-called “green” steel outfits attempt to convert iron ore to iron oxide using other means.

In its writeup, Fast Company noted that Boston Metal has recently raised more than $300 million between an investment round that included the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and a grant from the Department of Energy. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Boston Metal got its start, said last week that the company has raised more than $370 million to date.

-Britney Nguyen contributed to this article.

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