One of America's best kept secrets is the extent to which its domestic steel industry has been a leader in the country's industrial renaissance, Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) points out, as leaders from around the world head to Pittsburgh this week for the G-20 Summit. While domestic steel production has moved to different regions of the country over the years, U.S. Steel is headquartered there, one of the nation's top steel producers, and innovative technologies are what continue to push American steel into the forefront of world steel achievements.
"Steel productivity has more than tripled since the early 1980s leading the way among manufacturers, the industry has dramatically cut energy efficiency per ton of steel by 33 percent since 1990, and steel, the most recycled material on the planet, is the material that will help build America's green energy grid, its solar panels and its wind turbines as we continue to make the country stronger at home and abroad," Gibson said.
Other ways the steel industry has embraced the green movement include:
· being the only significant industry in the United States to increase production while cutting energy consumption;
· reducing energy intensity by 10 percent between 2002 and 2004, and by 15 percent since 2002;
· generating only between 1 and 2 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.;
· being globally recycled more than aluminum, paper, glass and plastic combined.
The American steel industry is currently conducting research on the next generation of iron and steelmaking technologies that will dramatically reduce or eliminate CO2 emissions. This research, called the CO2 Breakthrough Program, represents significant progress towardscarbon-free ironmaking. One project under way at MIT produces iron by molten oxide electrolysis (MOE) and generates near zero CO2 emissions. A second project called "Ironmaking by Hydrogen Flash Smelting" now being conducted at the University of Utah, replaced carbon as a blast-furnace fuel with hydrogen.
AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the material of choice. AISI plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 24 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 138 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI's member companies represent over 75 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity. Because of steel's broad range of applications – including renewable energy infrastructure, machinery and equipment, defense, transportation, and infrastructure – the industry is vital to America's economic and national security.