ALTERNAITIVE FUELS Pain at the gas pump translates into a boom for stainless

Nov 01, 2007 | 10:55 AM |

The need for alternative fuel sources is a fact of life—one becoming painfully evident as fossil fuel reserves fade while costs rise and emissions continue to tax the environment. Enter biofuels, which are energizing demand for the stainless steel used to fabricate refinery machinery and bulk storage tanks.

Specialty materials manufacturers like Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI), Pittsburgh, and AK Steel Corp., West Chester, Ohio, are reaping the benefits of the biofuels boom as companies that make equipment and supplies to produce ethanol and biodiesel fuels requisition material that can withstand the fuel's potential for corrosion.

ATI sees strong growth within the energy market, including ethanol, Richard J. Harshman, the company's executive vice president of finance and chief financial officer, said during a recent presentation to analysts at a Bank of America forum. Harshman noted that 22 percent of ATI's sales are to the chemical process industry/oil and gas sector, which often presents environments that are highly corrosive. The specialty alloys and metals that ATI produces work well in these cases, he said.....

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