Steel Times International Issue
April 2021

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April 2021

“Who would have thought it?” It’s a question that is likely to be on the lips of integrated steelmakers as they consider the bright future ahead for the electric arc furnace (EAF). When the concept of electric steelmaking was first pioneered by Nucor Corporation back in the day, the integrated steelmakers derided the technology, claiming it was only good for one thing: making trash cans. Well, how things have changed! Today, a third of the world’s steel output is made by electric arc furnaces and as pressure mounts on the global steel industry to reduce emissions, there is likely to be less blast furnaces around as steelmakers wise up and switch to using EAFs. We have already seen this happen, to a degree, with US Steel’s recent acquisition of Osceola, Arkansas-based Big River Steel in what US Steel is calling a ‘Best of Both’ worlds policy; and, of course, Cleveland Cliffs’ acquisition of AK Steel.

These days, EAFs are much more than trash can makers. In fact, since that slur was aired, back in the 20th century, the EAF has proved itself to be a highly versatile piece of equipment capable of making most of the stuff that integrated mills can make. But, cries the integrated steelmaking community, the EAF still can’t manufacture exposed auto sheet! Well, let’s wait and see about that: it looks as if Steel Dynamics’ greenfield flat-roll mill in Sinton, Texas, might enter the market when it comes online later this year, setting the cat among the pigeons in the boardrooms of integrated steelmakers.

But the whole “I can do anything better than you” argument, while relevant, pales into insignificance when you consider the climate benefits of electric steelmaking.

As the global steel industry sets the wheels in motion for zero emissions steelmaking using green hydrogen, the crucial piece of kit is the EAF combined with direct reduced iron technology as supplied by Midrex and Tenova HYL.

I think it is fair to say that electric steelmaking has passed all the tests and, quite obviously, no longer has to prove itself to anybody. In the USA, it’s the dominant force of steelmaking, accounting for around 70% of production and this, says Philip Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association, is likely to grow to 73-75% by 2023. To read more, turn to page 40 of this issue.


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2 Leader by Matthew Moggridge, Editor, Steel Times International

4 News Round-up – The latest global steel industry news

12 Special Steels – The Large Hadron Collider

17 USA Update – Caution after COVID

20 Latin America Update – CMIN's IPO, the story so far...

23 India Update – Infrastructure drives demand

27 Logistics – An effective pandemic supply chain

30 Environment – Low carbon steel production in Germany

35 Environment – Decarbonizing solutions for steel

40 Electric steelmaking USA – EAF steelmakers are on a roll!

45 Furnaces – Digitalizing the EAF process

49 Workforce – OptimaSteel Project – the results

53 Innovations – International contracts news

56 Plant Safety – Keeping safe on-site

58 Perspectives Q&A: Redex Group

60 History – Recitza, a new 18C ironmaking plant