U.S. Steel starts up advanced electric arc furnace facility in Alabama

U.S. Steel starts up advanced electric arc furnace facility in Alabama
U.S. Steel's new electric arc furnace in Fairfield has an annual steelmaking capacity of 1.6 million tons. (U.S. Steel)

U.S. Steel Corp. announced the successful start-up of a new technologically advanced electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking facility at its operations in Fairfield, marking a strategic milestone for the company.

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel said the EAF at the Fairfield Works, near Birmingham, has an annual steelmaking capacity of 1.6 million tons. It’s an important step in the company’s strategy to incorporate both integrated and minimill technologies.

“The EAF significantly enhances our ability to deliver customer-centric solutions and results,” said U.S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt. “We made a commitment to add electric arc steelmaking to our operating footprint as part of our ‘Best of Both’ strategy.”

“This successful start-up 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,” Burritt said.

Sustainable technology

The EAF method of steelmaking uses electricity. The process charges recycled steel scrap in the furnace. The scrap is then heated by electric arcs, melting it into liquid steel.

In the start-up process, Fairfield EAF No. 1 commenced its first arc, charged and melted steel scrap, and on Oct. 20 tapped its first heat of liquid steel.

“Fairfield EAF No. 1 adds significantly more sustainable steelmaking technology to our portfolio,” Burritt said.

The start-up climaxes a construction project at Fairfield Works that was re-launched in February 2018. The EAF project had been initiated in 2015 but was put on hold because of market conditions.

“I am proud of the Fairfield team for their perseverance and continued focus throughout the construction and start-up processes, especially on our core value of safety,” said Douglas Matthews, U.S. Steel senior vice president – Tubular Products.

U.S. Steel has been making steel in Birmingham for more than 100 years.

With extensive iron ore production and an annual raw steelmaking capability of 22 million net tons, U.S. Steel produces high-value-added steel products for the automotive, infrastructure, appliance, container and energy industries.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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