May 7, 2008


American Steel Industry Committed To A Sustainable Future
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) held an environmental briefing today on Capitol Hill, highlighting the industry’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint through research projects at universities around the country, and featuring a lead researcher who discussed one of the promising technologies currently being developed. The goal of these research projects is to reduce, and eventually eliminate, CO2 emissions from the steel making process.

“The American steel industry is proud to be an environmental leader that is committed to a sustainable future,” AISI President and CEO, Andrew G. Sharkey, III, said. “The industry has already reduced energy use per ton of steel shipped by 29 percent since the Kyoto baseline year of 1990, which also puts reduction by America’s steel sector of greenhouse gas emissions far below Kyoto standards. Even with these great strides, we are actively investing in research and new technologies to sustain significant progress.”

“This is an exciting time to be working with the steel industry,” H.Y. Sohn, Ph.D., professor, metallurgical and chemical engineering, University of Utah, said. “We are trying to take dramatic steps forward to reduce carbon emissions from the steel industry..”

As part of a joint program between AISI and the Department of Energy (DOE) known as the CO2 Breakthrough Program, research is currently underway at the University of Utah, under the leadership of Dr. Sohn, to produce iron by Hydrogen Flash Smelting. Hydrogen Flash Smelting is a process during which iron is separated from iron ore (“smelting”) at high temperature (above 1300°C) and at very fast reaction times. The unique characteristic is the use of hydrogen as the fuel. At today’s briefing, Sohn cautioned that the research is still in the beginning phases, but what has been demonstrated thus far is encouraging.

Carbon in some form, coal or coke, is used in today’s ironmaking processes. Substituting hydrogen for carbon nearly eliminates CO2 emissions in the ironmaking process. Ironmaking is the most energy-intensive step in the steelmaking process.

In addition to the University of Utah project, AISI has three other long-range projects that will have a positive impact on the environment. These three projects include: Molten Oxide Electrolysis at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Geological Sequestration of CO2 at the University of Missouri-Rolla; and Integrating Steel Production with Mineral Sequestration at Columbia University. There are also several short-term projects being conducted by AISI and its members that will also have important environmental impacts.

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 preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 31 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 130 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. AISI's member companies represent approximately 75 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s Web site at

Source: American Iron and Steel Institute, April 21, 2008

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Brought to you by the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) on the first Wednesday of each month, Framework Online arms you with the latest news and commentary on the steel framing and construction industries. In addition to industry headlines, trends and project profiles, Framework Online provides information and ideas that will better enable members to increase their participation in the residential and commercial construction markets.