For 118 years, the United States Steel Corporation has been a leader in innovative steelmaking in Pennsylvania. Now, the company plans to continue that tradition with an investment of over $1 billion to upgrade its Pittsburgh-area Mon Valley Works facilities. The investment will consist of a state-of-the-art endless casting and rolling facility at the Edgar Thompson Plant in Braddock, PA, as well as a brand-new cogeneration facility at the Clairton Plant in Clairton, PA. Together, these facilities will allow the company to remain at the industry forefront by implementing cutting-edge, sustainable technology to their steelmaking process and secure the future of steelmaking in western Pennsylvania for decades to come.
The first of its kind in the United States, this endless casting and rolling facility will use thin slab technology to create a continuous process of converting liquid steel to coil to produce flat steel products. The plant’s existing slab caster and hot strip mill facilities will be replaced, and molten alloy steels will instead be funneled directly into molds, solidified into 4-inch-thick bars of steel up to 77 inches wide, and continuously rolled into 40-ton coils of sheet steel that can be sliced as thin as 0.030 inches. This seamless integration of steps will dramatically improve the Mon Valley plant’s steelmaking efficiency; the new facility will churn out 250 tons of flat steel in a mere 40 minutes, a process that at present takes nearly four days.
Furthermore, the implementation of this technology will cement U. S. Steel’s place as a leader in steelmaking innovation. While many modern steel companies in the United States have opted to use electric arc furnaces, which produce steel by melting down scrap metal and reforging it to create new products, U. S. Steel is committed to the distinct quality derived from blast furnace technology that produces molten iron, which is then fashioned into steel. By combining the traditional steel forging process with innovative thin slab technology, U. S. Steel will optimize its steelmaking capabilities at the Mon Valley Works while expanding the types of high-quality steel available to their customers in the automotive, appliance, construction, converters, industrial and service center segments. The new system will improve the company’s production of XG3™ Advanced High Strength Steel, a high-quality, flexible steel valued by automobile manufacturers for its utility in meeting fuel-efficiency standards.
Of this investment, $150 million will be dedicated to the building of a state-of-the-art cogeneration facility at the nearby Clairton coke-making plant. There, the company will install technology that will simultaneously boost the plant’s environmental performance and energy conservation while dramatically reducing its emissions. At the existing Clairton Plant, large coke ovens heat coal to 1,000-1,100ºC and convert it to coke, the purified carbon material needed for iron production in the blast furnace. Currently, the excess gas produced in this coking process fuels the caster and hot strip mill at the Edgar Thomson Plant. When these units are replaced by the new endless casting and rolling system, the cogeneration facility will convert the excess coke oven gas into electricity that will power steelmaking operations at the Mon Valley Works. Not only will this allow U. S. Steel to reduce its regional carbon impact, but it will make the Mon Valley Works more energy self-sufficient.
When these new technologies are completed in 2022, U. S. Steel anticipates environmental improvements across the Mon Valley operations through a decrease in emissions of nitrogen oxide by 80 percent, sulfur oxide by 50 percent and overall particulate matter by 40 percent.
U.S. Steel’s $1 billion-plus investment in the Mon Valley Works positions the company at the forefront of steel industry innovation. Not only will the endless casting and rolling system be the first of its kind in the United States, but the implementation of this new process secures U. S. Steel’s commitment to steelmaking in the historic Mon Valley for present and future generations. By optimizing steel production and keeping U. S. Steel competitive in the global marketplace, this technology will provide a new generation of steelworkers with the opportunity to pursue good-paying, family-sustaining, advanced manufacturing jobs. Similarly, the state-of-the-art cogeneration facility will transform U. S. Steel into an industry leader in producing environmentally friendly and efficient steel products. By investing in sustainable, cutting-edge steelmaking practices, U. S. Steel will renew its partnership with the communities and families of the Mon Valley and ensure its tradition of innovative steelmaking in western Pennsylvania will continue for future generations.
At the company’s announcement event, held in early May at the Edgar Thomson Plant, U. S. Steel employees viewed a congratulatory video message from Governor Tom Wolf and listened to congratulatory remarks from several elected officials, including Lt. Governor John Fetterman, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Dennis Davin, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Mike Turzai and state Senator Jim Brewster.
For more information on the announcement and investment, please visit www.uss.com/MonValleyInvestment.
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