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December 2003

CO2 Emissions Reduction Focus of Steelmaking Technology Research

Washington, DC— The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) announced the launch of a dramatic North American research initiative to develop new steelmaking technologies with little or no CO2 emissions. AISI will play an integral part of an international effort, organized under the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI), in which many regions around the world are attacking the CO2 issue. As part of this effort to reduce CO2 emissions, the international steel industry is focusing its collective attention on the development of revolutionary new processes that minimize, eliminate, or capture carbon emissions through the "CO2 Breakthrough Program."

"All of the North American companies that have joined the program will share the benefits of this global effort," said AISI Chairman Daniel R. DiMicco, vice chairman, president and chief executive officer, Nucor Corporation. "We expect that some meaningful benefits will be returned early and others in the long term."

The first phase of the program is entitled "concept discovery and assessment," during which revolutionary concepts will be investigated and developed in the hope that several will show sufficient promise to effect dramatic reductions in emissions. Some areas already identified for study include the use of non-carbonaceous fuels such as hydrogen and methane, advanced scrap processing technologies for residual removal and more efficient melting, the use of biomass and closed-carbon-cycle processes, and CO2 sequestration.

Climate change is a critical issue for the global steel industry, including North America. Overall, CO2 emissions continue to increase, despite the fact that energy utilization per ton of steel produced has been decreasing for the last three decades. Currently, steel represents approximately six percent of man-made CO2 emissions, so the steel industry is taking a leadership role in CO2 abatement.

AISI is currently soliciting research proposals into CO2 abatement technologies, which will be evaluated and form the foundation of the program. "CO2 mitigation is a high priority for steelmakers," AISI President and CEO Andrew G. Sharkey, III, said, "because we, like all of manufacturing, are dependant on oil, gas, and coal for energy. It is also a major issue for our customers, who rely on steel's properties to help enhance the environment, for example, as with high strength steels that allow automakers to reduce mass in their production of new cars and trucks."


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