Canvas Category OEM : Primary Metal
With the acquisition of mini mill leader Big River Steel and construction of our Fairfield, AL, mini mill completed in 2021, we now have industry-best mini mill capabilities to match our integrated steelmaking leadership. The first proof of concept is verdeXTM steel, made with up to 90% recycled steel content in a process that has a lower—as much as 75% lower—carbon footprint than traditional steelmaking methods. We are now transitioning to our Best for AllSM strategy, guided by a vision that sees our planet as our most important customer. A vision that’s committed to providing differentiating, profitable and sustainable solutions to our customers. A vision that knows true transformation must go beyond steel—we must work to deliver what’s best for the people who work here, who buy our customers’ products and who live around us. At U. S. Steel, we’re excited about the future of steel. And we can’t get there fast enough.
The trillion-dollar quest to make green steel
But the main explanation for steel’s giant carbon footprint is that, globally, most steel is still made by heating fossil fuels to turn raw iron ore into finished metal — a process that generates 90 percent of CO2 emissions from steel, along with a toxic soup of heavy metals and air pollution. While recycled steel can displace some of the demand for “primary” steel, it doesn’t diminish the need to clean up or replace coal-fueled furnaces.
Most likely, that shift will include using hydrogen to process iron ore for steelmaking. Only one facility in the world is currently doing this at any meaningful scale: the $180 million Hybrit project in Sweden. However, dozens of projects involving hydrogen are in various stages of development worldwide. Sweden’s H2 Green Steel recently raised $1.6 billion to build the world’s first large-scale, hydrogen-fueled plant, while Chinese steelmaker HBIS Group said it produced its first batch of hydrogen-infused iron.
Undoubtedly, the steel industry’s transformation will require countries to build significantly more renewable energy capacity, both to power electricity-driven furnaces and to produce “green” hydrogen, of which very little is available today worldwide. Down the line, next-generation technologies developed by startups such as Electra and Boston Metal could make it cheaper and easier to produce green steel. All told, decarbonizing iron and steel is expected to require $1.4 trillion of investment by midcentury.
In 2021, three years after construction began, the Hybrit plant successfully produced the world’s first steel reduced by 100 percent fossil-free hydrogen,” which it delivered to Swedish automaker Volvo Group. To date, Pei said the facility has produced about 2,000 metric tons of DRI, also known as “sponge iron.” For comparison, that’s roughly the average amount of steel needed to make over 2,200 cars.
U. S. Steel Aims to Improve Operational Efficiencies and Employee Experiences with Google Cloud’s Generative AI
United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X) (“U. S. Steel”) and Google Cloud today announced a new collaboration to build applications using Google Cloud’s generative artificial intelligence (“gen AI”) technology to drive efficiencies and improve employee experiences in the largest iron ore mine in North America. As a leading manufacturer engaging in gen AI with Google Cloud, U. S. Steel continues to advance its more than 100-year legacy of innovation.
The first gen AI-driven application that U. S. Steel will launch is called MineMind™ which aims to simplify equipment maintenance by providing optimal solutions for mechanical problems, saving time and money, and ultimately improving productivity. Underpinned by Google Cloud’s AI technology like Document AI and Vertex AI, MineMind™ is expected to not only improve the maintenance team’s experience by more easily bringing the information they need to their fingertips, but also save costs from more efficient use of technicians’ time and better maintained trucks. The initial phase of the launch will begin in September and will impact more than 60 haul trucks at U. S. Steel’s Minnesota Ore Operations facilities, Minntac and Keetac.
U. S. Steel Closes on $240 Million Financing to Support Big River 2
United States Steel Corporation (NYSE X) (“U. S. Steel” or the “Company”) today announced the closing of $240 million unsecured Arkansas Development Finance Authority environmental improvement revenue bonds, which carry a green bond designation (the “Green Bonds”). The Green Bonds, issued through Arkansas Development Finance Authority, have a coupon rate of 5.70% and carry a final maturity of 2053. Under the agreement with the Arkansas bond issuer, U. S. Steel will pay semiannual interest.
The Company will use the proceeds from the Green Bonds to partially fund work related to its new technologically advanced flat rolled steelmaking facility, Big River 2 (“BR2”), currently under construction near Osceola, Arkansas. The facility will recycle, refine, and process scrap steel into finished steel products.
U.S. Steel Signs Supply Agreement With General Motors For U.S.-Sourced Sustainable VerdeX Steel
United States Steel Corp. will supply General Motors \with its advanced and sustainable steel solution called verdeX steel. The steel is manufactured with up to 75 percent fewer emissions compared to traditional blast furnace production1, is made with up to 90 percent recycled content and is endlessly recyclable without degradation.
U.S. Steel’s verdeX steel will be manufactured at Big River Steel, a LEED Certified facility that also meets the ResponsibleSteel Standard site certification, along with a new advanced technology mill under construction in Osceola, Arkansas. The steel produced at the Big River Steel facility will begin shipping to GM manufacturing facilities starting this year.
U.S. Steel Looks to Forge High-Tech Future at Mills Both New and Old
When U.S. Steel took full ownership of Big River last year, it also gained the plant’s artificial intelligence know-how and was a signal of the 120-year-old manufacturing giant’s commitment to advancing technology in its mills. But implementing the type of technology in use at Big River in the steelmaker’s other mills, some of which are over 100 years old, has proven a difficult task, according to the company’s chief information officer.
Big River uses advanced technology to make basic steel mill functions, such as the cooling of hot steel coils, more efficient. If the coils are too close to one another, they take longer to cool, which is why Big River’s machine-learning automated crane is so important. The temperature in parts of the mill can reach 150 degrees during the summer, so keeping things cool can be a challenge. Big River Steel recently installed a slushie machine to help employees cool off.
Big River also uses cameras to feed inputs into machine-learning algorithms that can detect defects in coil slabs or determine whether someone creates a safety hazard by getting too close to certain machines.
U.S. Steel Gains AI Know-How in Big River Deal
By investing in Big River, which began operating in 2017, U.S. Steel gains access to the technology and know-how for producing sheet steel from melting scrap in an electric furnace. The deal is expected to make U.S. Steel more cost-competitive with rivals, including Nucor Corp. and Steel Dynamics Inc., that use electric furnaces to turn scrap metal into steel.
The plant’s AI system, designed by San Francisco technology firm Noodle Analytics Inc., uses deep learning and neural networks. It was designed to continually train algorithms on data captured by thousands of sensors.
The data can be useful in a number of ways, from spotting problems with production and quality to helping sequence the production of various grades and sizes of steel in the most efficient manner. The system can also help conserve energy consumption beyond what the plant gets per its utility contract, maximizing the amount of surplus power it can sell.