Summer Lee Announces $3,094,435 Federal Grant for Pittsburgh to Lead Decarbonized Steelmaking Technology 

Summer Lee Announces $3,094,435 Federal Grant for Pittsburgh to Lead Decarbonized Steelmaking Technology 

(Washington, DC – June 15, 2023) Today, Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12), who serves on the House Science, Space and Technology committee announced that Pittsburgh will receive $3,094,435 in federal funding through the Department of Energy (DOE) to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for advancements enabling decarbonization in ore-based iron and steelmaking operations. The project will help establish the foundation of DOE’s Low Emissions Steel Manufacturing Research Program.

Congresswoman Lee said, “Representing the birthplace of steel and, more importantly, the Steelworkers, I could not be prouder to announce that $3,094,435 in federal funding will soon be delivered for Pittsburgh’s to Lead the country and the world in developing Decarbonized Steelmaking Technology. This is a BIG deal and just the beginning of our work towards a future where Western PA sets the blueprint for cutting edge green manufacturing, economic opportunity and innovation, clean air and water, and good paying union jobs.” 

Achieving a net-zero industrial sector that advances American competitiveness, and job creation will require an aggressive, multidimensional approach that invests in regions like Western PA to lead the country and the world in manufacturing, innovation, and technology while create good-paying union jobs,  The U.S. industrial sector accounts for one-third of all energy-related domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is among the most difficult to decarbonize. In 2022, DOE released the Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap, which identifies key pathways to reducing industrial emissions and focuses on five energy-intensive subsectors where industrial decarbonization efforts can have the greatest impact: cement and concrete, chemicals, food and beverage, iron and steel, and petroleum refining. 

Primarily funded through DOE’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office, the 40 selected projects will be led by 36 different universities, National Laboratories, and companies spread across 21 states. The projects will support research, development, and pilot-scale demonstrations to reduce energy usage and emissions from these subsectors, which account for over 50% of the energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the industrial sector, as well as paper and forest products.

Pittsburgh leads the country in the production of Steel, more than 1 billion tons of which are produced each year for buildings, transportation, electrical appliances, and energy technologies and more. Steel is a vital material, valued for being lightweight yet strong. Iron and steel manufacturing in the United States produces 7% of industrial emissions. Steelmaking is energy and emissions intensive, requiring high process temperatures and a source of carbon to drive reactions. Generating heat and the chemical reactions that occur during steelmaking processes both produce significant emissions.

How Do We Decarbonize Iron and Steel Manufacturing?

 

Traditional steel furnaces burn fossil fuels to reach the temperatures needed to smelt raw iron and carbon into steel. Process emissions are created when carbon is used to remove oxygen from iron ore, “reducing” it to pig iron, the key feedstock in the steel industry. Electric arc furnaces (EAFs) can utilize recycled steel scrap, foregoing many of the process emissions associated with smelting new steel from reduced iron ore. EAFs can rely on renewable sources of electricity to eliminate energy use emissions.

However, steelmaking remains a relatively energy-intensive process with considerable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To address these issues, IEDO is helping to lead the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Low Emissions Steel Manufacturing Research Program. The Program is developing key decarbonization pathways including:

  • Alternative iron and steelmaking processes
  • Hydrogen injection into the blast furnace
  • Utilizing clean electricity sources
  • Increased use of scrap
  • Integrating hydrogen use into existing processes

Technology development is also underway to provide an infrastructure capable of supplying clean hydrogen and renewable electricity to help enable the industry to decarbonize its operations.

**More information on the project available upon request**

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