DOE Awards $7.1 Million to American Iron and Steel Institute for Research on Breakthrough Technologies

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For Immediate Release:
June 12, 2012

Washington, D.C. – An American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) project proposal to be conducted in collaboration with the University of Utah has been selected by the Department of Energy’s Innovative Manufacturing Initiative for a $7.1 million award, Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO, announced. 
 
“Our collaborative research with the Department of Energy (DOE) goes back more than 20 years and is an important factor in why the steel industry in the United States has the lowest energy intensity in the world,” Gibson said.  “We thank DOE for this award and look forward to working with our partners at DOE, the University of Utah, Berry Metal Company and our member companies to keep U.S. manufacturers at the forefront of advances in steelmaking technology.”
 
The project seeks to develop a new ironmaking process based on the direct gaseous reduction of fine iron concentrates, iron being a primary ingredient in making steel.   The new process aims to reduce the energy needed to make iron while reducing environmental emissions, especially carbon dioxide, by up to 50%. 

The total project budget is $8.9M over three years from the date of the award, with 80% cost sharing to be provided by DOE and the balance ($1.8M) by AISI members.

“The development of new steelmaking technology is critical to maintaining the domestic steel industry’s global competitiveness and improving its energy efficiency,” said Congressman Pete Visclosky. “I commend AISI’s continued efforts in this regard and thank DOE for supporting research and fostering technological advances in domestic manufacturing, which remains one of the most important drivers of our economy and provides millions of workers with good-paying jobs.”

“This research builds on three years of lab testing at the University of Utah and takes advantage of our country’s abundant natural gas reserves.  The ability to use natural gas now and hydrogen in the future in this process offers great potential,” Gibson said. 
 
 The project was one of 13 selected out of more than 1400 letters of intent, 1200 concept papers, and over 250 full applications that DOE evaluated as part of this funding opportunity.   DOE described the projects selected as vehicles “to advance transformational technologies and materials that can help American manufacturers dramatically increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce costs.”
 
AISI has a long history of investing in the development of advanced technologies by focusing on process modeling and control and new process development all toward improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and heightening the domestic steel industry’s competitiveness.   Together, the steel industry and DOE have invested over $70 million dollars of industry and government funds on collaborative research programs.

“While our industry’s energy and CO2 reduction achievements (27% and 33% respectively) since 1990 are significant, we must continue to invest in high-risk, high reward research to meet the challenges posed by our international competition and by competing materials,” Gibson said.

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 25 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 124 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.  AISI's member companies represent over three quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.  For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s Web site at www.steel.org


Contact: Nancy Gravatt
ngravatt@steel.org / 202.452.7115


Link here for a PDF version of this press release.

Link to the DOE website for more information on the award.