Steel News

U.S. DRI Projects Receive Federal Support

3/25/2024 - Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., SSAB and Vale will share up to US$1.4 billion in federal funding supporting several proposed decarbonization projects. 

The funding, announced Monday, was awarded through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and is meant to help spur decarbonization of energy-intensive industries, reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, support good-paying union jobs, revitalize industrial communities, and strengthen the nation’s manufacturing competitiveness. 

“Spurring on the next generation of decarbonization technologies in key industries like steel, paper, concrete, and glass will keep America the most competitive nation on Earth,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm.

“Thanks to President Biden’s industrial strategy, DOE is making the largest investment in industrial decarbonization in the history of the United States. These investments will slash emissions from these difficult-to-decarbonize sectors and ensure American businesses and American workers remain at the forefront of the global economy.”

SSAB has been awarded up to US$500 million for a fully hydrogen-fueled direct reduction facility in Mississippi. The company also would expand its Montpelier, Iowa, steelmaking facility to utilize the resulting hydrogen-reduced direct reduced iron (DRI).

"By demonstrating the use of clean hydrogen to produce DRI, SSAB estimates that this project would reduce emissions from the DRI manufacturing process by 81%, providing a pathway for deep decarbonization of U.S. iron and steel production," the department said.  

Meanwhile, Cleveland-Cliffs is being awarded more than US$500 million for two projects, one of which involves installation of a hydrogen-ready flex-fuel DRI plant and two electric melting furnaces its Middletown Works in Ohio. The project would replace one of its seven operating blast furnaces. 

“This project would enable Cleveland-Cliffs, the largest supplier of steel to the U.S. automotive industry, to further decarbonize the highest quality grades of rolled steel products for its customers, helping to decarbonize the automotive industry’s supply chain,” the department said. 

The company also plans to electrify slab reheating of high-silicon, grain-oriented electrical steel by installing an induction heater at its Butler, Pa., works. 

“Induction heating is a highly energy-efficient heating method that minimizes energy losses and enables precise control over temperatures. This project anchors a crucial component of the U.S.’s energy supply chain and is widely replicable among the many iron and steel facilities that use reheat furnaces across the U.S.,” the Energy Department said. 

For its part, iron ore producer Vale plans to invest it award of up to US$282.9 in a first-of-its-kind production facility for the cold agglomeration of iron ore pellets. The plant would be built somewhere in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. 

“This transformative technology achieves deep emissions reductions by decarbonizing iron ore processing and reducing the need for industrial heat, resulting in a flexible product that can be used at both direct reduced and blast furnace ironmaking routes,” the department said.