Energy Department, ArcelorMittal Partnership Boosts Efficiency of Major Steel Manufacturing Plant

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–December 17, 2012. Today, Senior Advisor in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Gil Sperling, joined local officials and company representatives for the ribbon cutting ceremony and tour of the ArcelorMittal steel manufacturing plant in East Chicago, Indiana. ArcelorMittal unveiled a new, energy recovery and reuse boiler that recycles waste gas generated through its ironmaking process and uses it to generate electricity to help power the plant. 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded ArcelorMittal $31.6 million for their boiler project under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was matched by the company. The company expects this energy recovery boiler to generate 333,000 megawatt hours of power annually of its own electricity, the equivalent of powering 30,000 American homes per year, and to save the facility nearly $20 million in energy costs each year. Senior Advisor Sperling highlighted the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to strengthen U.S. competitiveness in clean energy manufacturing.

“Through investments in energy-saving technologies, such as innovative energy recovery and reuse systems, the Administration is taking steps to strengthen American manufacturing and boosting energy efficiency for businesses across the nation,” said Senior Advisor Sperling. “Cutting-edge energy efficiency projects help businesses cut costs, increase efficiency, and create strong, middle class jobs.”

An estimated 360 jobs were supported by the design, construction and manufacturing of the equipment for the project, most significantly the new boiler, which was made in Erie, Pennsylvania by Indeck Keystone Energy.  The project also employed 200 local construction workers at the plant site.  In addition, the new boiler makes the Indiana Harbor plant, the largest steel manufacturing facility in North America, more competitive in the global steel market.  Indiana Harbor employs approximately 6,000 workers.

“The 504 Boiler Project at Indiana Harbor is a major step forward for Northwest Indiana jobs. With the new boiler, the facility will improve its internal power generation, reduce carbon emissions, and provide a reliable source of electric power for a lower price. Each of these efficiencies will improve competitiveness, which means good-paying jobs for Northwest Indiana workers. I thank the City of East Chicago, Mayor Anthony Copeland, Representative Earl Harris, Senator Lonnie Randolph, the United Steelworkers, ArcelorMittal and the U.S. Department of Energy for their unrelenting efforts to bring this project to completion,” stated U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky.

This project also showcases one of many efforts outlined in President Obama’s Executive Order to accelerate and expand industrial energy efficiency with investments that reduce energy use through more efficient manufacturing technologies and processes. This includes the expanded use of efficient, on-site energy recovery systems, as deployed by the ArcelorMittal project.

Signed in August, the Executive Order builds on important steps the Administration has taken to scale up private sector investments in energy efficiency in our homes, buildings and factories with efforts like the Better Buildings Initiative.  The efforts outlined in the Executive Order could save manufacturers as much as $100 billion in energy costs over the next decade, improving their bottom lines and strengthening U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. 

In addition, the Executive Order establishes a new national goal of 40 gigawatts of new combined heat and power (CHP) capacity – industrial waste heat capture systems – by 2020, a 50 percent increase from today. Meeting this goal would save American industry $10 billion per year, could result in between $40 billion to $80 billion in new capital investment in manufacturing and other facilities that would create American jobs, and would reduce emissions equivalent to 25 million cars.

The Energy Department’s advanced manufacturing R&D program, through the Innovative Manufacturing Initiative, also invests in next-generation technologies that have the potential to revolutionize conventional manufacturing processes down the road.  In partnership with the steel industry, DOE recently initiated a novel ironmaking project that will develop a process that sprays iron ore directly into the furnace chamber and uses natural gas or hydrogen as a reducing agent to replace the energy and capital intensive coke oven and blast furnace process steps – significantly reducing the energy costs, carbon footprint, production time, and capital and operating costs.  

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Find out more about the Department’s work to partner with industry, small business, universities, and other stakeholders to identify and invest in advanced manufacturing technologies with the potential to create high-quality domestic jobs and enhance the global competitiveness of the United States. And learn more about the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a government-wide effort to transform advanced manufacturing in the United States.