US Steel starts up Alabama EAF
United States Steel Corp., Pittsburgh, has announced the successful startup of its newly constructed electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking facility at its Fairfield, Alabama, operations. The company says this is the latest milestone it has reached in its “Best of Both” integrated and minimill technology strategy.
U.S. Steel President and Chief Executive Officer David B. Burritt says, “The EAF significantly enhances our ability to deliver customer-centric solutions and results. We made a commitment to add electric arc steelmaking to our operating footprint as part of our ‘Best of Both’ strategy. This successful startup delivers on that promise, and I am very pleased with the way our people safely accomplished this while navigating the disruptive influences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had the added benefit of using this project as a tool for technical collaboration with the EAF experts at our ‘Best of Both’ partner, Big River Steel. Fairfield EAF No. 1 adds significantly more sustainable steelmaking technology to our portfolio.”
U.S. Steel Senior Vice President – Tubular Products Douglas R. Matthews adds, “I am proud of the Fairfield team for their perseverance and continued focus throughout the construction and startup processes, especially on our core value of safety. We are excited to provide our customers with more sustainable tubular solutions, including our technically advanced proprietary connections, to support their efforts to safely extract and transport the resources necessary to power our daily lives.”
The EAF method of steelmaking uses electrical energy to melt steel scrap into liquid steel. In the startup process, U.S. Steel says Fairfield EAF No. 1 started its first arc and charged and melted steel scrap. Oct. 20, the operation tapped its first heat of liquid steel.
The company’s EAF has an annual steelmaking capacity of 1.6 million tons.
U.S. Steel announced the restart of construction on the EAF steelmaking facility at its Tubular Operations in Fairfield in early 2019. The company previously began construction of the EAF in March 2015, but it suspended construction in December 2015 because of what it said were unfavorable market conditions.
Earlier this year, U.S. Steel idled tubular operations in Lorain, Ohio, and Lone Star, Texas, because of weak tubular market conditions. In the company’s third-quarter 2020 guidance issued in September, U.S. Steel says tubular market conditions “appear to have bottomed, but catalysts for improvement are limited.”
Sims Metal Management New England, EPA resolve Clean Air Act claims
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Sims Metal Management (SMM) New England Corp., Johnston, Rhode Island, have reached a settlement resolving administrative penalty claims that the company allegedly violated the federal Clean Air Act. Under the settlement, SMM will come into compliance with state and federal clean air requirements and will pay $250,000 in penalties.
“Sims Metal Management worked cooperatively and in good faith with the state to obtain this resolution,” the company says in a statement to Recycling Today. “This matter pertains to complaints about alleged air emissions from the Sims Metal Management shredder in Johnston, Rhode Island, which has not been in operation since April 6, 2020. While the U.S. EPA participated in the negotiations, the state was the lead governmental organization.”
The EPA in concert with Rhode Island’s attorney general and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management alleged that SMM constructed the shredder, which it says is a new major source of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions, without securing a permit and without installing required emissions controls.
In Rhode Island’s related action, in September the state’s Superior Court finalized a consent judgment under which the company will pay a separate penalty to the state and take the steps necessary to comply with air permitting and air pollution control requirements.
The automobile shredder that SMM operates at its Johnston location processes end-of-life automobiles, appliances and other light-gauge metal-bearing materials. The shredder generates enough heat to melt or burn the plastics, paints and oils the scrap contains, causing emissions of VOCs, the EPA says.
According to SMM’s statement to Recycling Today, this latest resolution with the EPA was reached at the same time the company settled with the state of Rhode Island.