2012 technology review: A look back on the future

Sep 30, 2012 | 07:00 PM | AMM staff

Tags  ArcelorMittal Long Carbon Europe, Nico Reuter, Dubai Aluminium Co., Dubal, GE, Siemens VAI Metals Technologies, Simetal LiquiRob, Phil Ponikvar Wuhan Iron & Steel

So far, 2012 has proven to be an interesting year for technological developments in various metal sectors. Steel and aluminum producers in particular have aggressively pursued new means of production efficiency, safety and sustainability. Here are just some of those breakthroughs:

Renewable energy

Earlier this year, ArcelorMittal SA showcased new products for use in the renewable energy sector. The Luxembourg-based steelmaker unveiled its latest long products for the construction of lattice-tower wind turbines for onshore wind farms. Steel lattice towers generally are lower in cost, generate more power because they capture higher wind speeds with their greater height, are significantly lighter, require less-bulky foundations and have the lowest life-cycle costs for sustainable energy production, according to ArcelorMittal. “The low-cost structure and reduced foundations, combined with corrosion protection through galvanizing, makes it the best investment over the long term,” the company said.

“The steel industry contributes actively in saving carbon dioxide emissions with lightweight steel solutions. Moreover, we are delivering steel to support renewable energy use,” ArcelorMittal Long Carbon Europe vice president Nico Reuter said, noting that ArcelorMittal supplied more than 4 million tonnes of steel solely for energy infrastructure in 2011.

Energy costs

The price of energy has reached unprecedented levels in the past decade. In an effort to lower energy costs, many metal manufacturers are developing innovative solutions to reduce overall energy consumption. Aluminum is especially costly to produce, with electricity accounting for nearly one-third of total production costs. Dubai Aluminium Co. Ltd. (Dubal) has taken a proactive stance to save power in an energy-reduction initiative with GE Energy that focuses primarily on its fleet of gas turbines.....

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