Frequently Asked Questions
Boston Metal is a global metals technology solutions company that is commercializing Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE), a patented tonnage metals production platform powered by electricity. MOE is expected to provide the metals industry with a more efficient, lower cost and greener solution for the production of steel and other metals from a wide variety of feedstocks and iron ore grades.
We are based in Woburn, MA, just north of Boston, and we have a wholly owned subsidiary in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
How does Boston Metal’s MOE technology produce green steel?
Boston Metal’s modular and scalable Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE) platform uses clean electricity to convert all iron ore grades to high-quality liquid metal, which protects against the scarcity and price volatility of premium ores. This direct approach eliminates multiple steps in the steel production process and does not require coke production, iron ore sintering and pelletizing, blast furnace reduction or basic oxygen furnace refinement.
In the MOE cell, an inert anode is immersed in an electrolyte containing iron ore, and then it’s electrified. When the cell heats to 1600 °C, the electrons split the bonds in the iron oxide in the iron ore to produce pure liquid metal. No carbon dioxide or other harmful byproducts are generated in this process, only oxygen. Furthermore, MOE does not require process water, hazardous chemicals or precious-metal catalysts.
Boston Metal’s modular MOE cell can scale to meet production capacity targets from thousands to millions of tons of output for a customized steel manufacturing solution.
What is Boston Metal’s high-value metals business?
In Brazil, our subsidiary is focused on commercializing MOE to offer a sustainable and profitable solution for the metals and mining industry. In addition to steel decarbonization, MOE can also be used to extract valuable metals from complex, low-concentration materials that are currently considered waste. This enables miners to reduce the financial and environmental liabilities of slag by leveraging a natural byproduct of metal production to create new revenue streams. We are opening a high-value metals production facility in Minas Gerais, Brazil in late 2023 and expect first revenues in early 2024.
When will MOE become commercially available?
Boston Metal expects to commercialize MOE for steel production by 2026, and we’re on track to realize first revenues from our high-value metals business in 2024.
Will Boston Metal produce its own steel or license the technology to other manufacturers?
Boston Metal will not produce steel. Instead, we will license our MOE platform technology to steelmakers. We will manufacture and market our metallic inert anodes, which are a critical component of MOE for green steel production.
For our high-value metals business, Boston Metal do Brasil will use the MOE technology to recover valuable metals from mining waste at our facility in Brazil.
Is the same MOE technology used for both the green steel and high-value metals businesses?
For the most part, yes. When used for high-value metals production, the key component for MOE is a carbon anode, which we’ve already validated at the commercial scale. With green steel production, MOE uses an inert anode – this element allows us to electrolyze and break down iron ore without any carbon emissions released. Inert anodes have been validated at the pilot scale, and we’re currently working hard to validate them at commercial scale. Another difference is that MOE for green steel requires renewable electricity since we’re decarbonizing the process, while using renewable electricity for high-value metals is an option, but not required.
How does steel produced with MOE compare to “traditional” steel in terms of cost and performance?
Our MOE cells produce pure liquid iron that can be directly integrated into conventional downstream steelmaking processes such as ladle metallurgy, where the chemical composition is adjusted, and then sent on to casting and other manufacturing stages. No reheating is required.
Iron production is the basis for all steelmaking and the most carbon-intensive step in the process. In traditional steelmaking, the energy that powers this stage comes from coal. Boston Metal’s process is powered by renewable electricity. When compared with traditional primary steelmaking, using MOE is more efficient and emits no carbon dioxide.
Having pure, emissions-free iron produced by our MOE cells ensures a high-quality, green-premium finished steel product.
How does Boston Metal’s technology compare to hydrogen-based steelmaking?
One thing both processes have in common is usage of clean, renewable electricity.
However, unlike our approach, the hydrogen direct reduced iron (DRI) process is dependent on global buildout of green hydrogen infrastructure, which won’t be achieved at the necessary scale for quite some time.
Furthermore, hydrogen DRI is only able to produce steel from premium-priced, high-quality iron ores using a more complex process with multiple additional steps.
A key advantage of Boston Metal’s MOE is that it can use all grades of iron ore feedstock with a direct, one-step process. With cost-competitive renewable electricity, Boston Metal achieves scale faster and with fewer limitations than alternative green steel technologies such as hydrogen DRI.
Why is green steel important?
Roughly 2 billion tons of steel are produced every year, accounting for ~10% of global carbon emissions. As the premier structural material in everything around us, demand for steel will only continue to grow. By 2050, the global demand for steel is expected to increase by 30% according to the World Economic Forum.
Major steel consumers in the automotive, construction and technology sectors are already demanding green steel solutions, and many steelmakers have committed to reaching net zero by 2050.
Is Boston Metal working with any steel companies?
Global steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal has invested in Boston Metal through its XCarb® Innovation Fund and is the fund’s largest single investment to date. The fund invests in the best and brightest technologies that ArcelorMittal believes can contribute to its efforts to decarbonize, supporting its ambition to reach net zero by 2050 and lead the steel industry to reduce its impact on the planet.
What is the company’s history?
The basis of Boston Metal’s patented MOE technology platform was developed at MIT. The company was founded in 2013 and initially explored a range of applications for MOE. Shortly after metals industry veteran Tadeu Carneiro joined the company as CEO in 2017, we pivoted to focus on steel decarbonization.
In 2018, we raised $25M in a Series A funding round. In 2021, we raised another $60M in a Series B and grew from 8 employees to 65. We launched our subsidiary Boston Metal do Brasil to grow our high-value metals business in 2022, secured land and began designing our facilities in the municipality of Coronel Xavier Chaves near São João del Rei, Minas Gerais. Also around this time, Boston Metal completed the first tap of our semi-industrial 25,000-amp MOE cell at our Woburn, MA headquarters in preparation for green steel production.
In January 2023, the VC arms of ArcelorMittal and Microsoft joined the first close of Boston Metal’s $120M Series C funding round, which was the second-largest Series C of Q1 in 2023. We welcomed our first institutional investor when IFC invested $20 million in May 2023. In September 2023, we announced an additional $122M for our Series C, bringing the total raised to-date to more than $350 million.
For a more detailed breakdown, take a look at the company timeline here.
How many employees does Boston Metal have?
We currently have more than 170 employees in the United States and Brazil. We are continuing to grow. Check out our Careers page to learn more about current opportunities.
Is Boston Metal listed on any stock exchanges?
As a private company, Boston Metal is not listed on any stock exchanges.
Who are Boston Metal’s investors?
We’re proud to be backed by a world-class investor syndicate that includes Breakthrough Energy Ventures, IFC (the private sector arm of the World Bank), ArcelorMittal XCarb® Innovation Fund, Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Aramco Ventures, M&G Investments, Goehring & Rozencwajg, Baillie Gifford, Prelude Ventures, The Engine, Climate Investments, Vale, Fine Structure Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, BHP, Piva Capital, SiteGround and BMW i Ventures. These investors represent the steel supply chain from iron ore miners and steelmakers to end users.
What Is Boston Metal’s total funding to date?
We have raised more than $350 million as of September 2023.