Steel News

Cleveland-Cliffs Commissions NOES Expansion  

7/27/2023 - Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. has completed an expansion of its Zanesville, Ohio, USA, plant and plans to begin trialing hydrogen in its largest blast furnace, chairman and chief executive office Lourenco Goncalves has said. 

Speaking during the company’s second-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, Goncalves said the 70,000-ton non-oriented expansion at Zanesville is now producing Cleveland-Cliffs’ branded Motor-Max electrical steels, which is intended for electric vehicle motors.

“Every electric vehicle on the road needs about 150 pounds of this material and we are now in a great position to serve the growing demand for these steels,” Goncalves said. 

In Indiana, Goncalves said the company is looking to trial hydrogen in the Indiana Harbor No. 7 blast furnace. That follows a successful trial at Middletown Works in Ohio, during which engineers injected hydrogen through all 20 tuyeres on the No. 3 blast furnace for an extend period. 

“This ultimately replaced the release of CO2 with the release of H2O with water vapor, with no impact to product quality or operating efficiency,” Goncalves said. “We believe hydrogen will be the true game changer for the decarbonization of steel; it's simple chemistry after all, and we have already proven its effectiveness.”

The main hurdle, Goncalves said, is economics. 

“As of today, equivalent units of hydrogen gas are about 10 times more expensive than natural gas. That is why we are an active player on the initiatives to build hydrogen hubs in the Midwest, specifically near our Burns Harbor and Indiana Harbor steel complexes in northwest Indiana and also near our Toledo, Ohio, direct reduction plant. As hydrogen becomes more and more 
economical, we will be able to implement it throughout our entire footprint," Goncalves said. 

For the quarter ending 30 June 2023, Cleveland-Cliffs reported net income of US$356 million, or 67 cents per diluted share, on net sales of nearly US$6 billion. In the same quarter last year, the company reported net income of US$596 million, or US$1.13 per diluted share, on sales of US$6.3 billion. 

“Looking forward, we are on pace for our best shipment year since becoming a steel company. Service center inventories are significantly lower than historical levels, creating support for a healthy second half of the year. And finally, while the performance of our automotive clients continues to improve, the sector has not returned to pre-COVID levels yet, indicating that Cleveland-Cliffs still has plenty of value to be unlocked in the near future,” Goncalves said.