PITTSBURGH U.S. Steel
Corp. has unveiled the new coke battery at its Clairton, Pa.,
plant, which is intended to reduce pollution while enhancing
the companys raw materials position.
The $500-million project was the largest-ever investment in the
Clairton plants 112-year history and one of the largest
single capital improvements for U.S. Steel as a whole, chairman
and chief executive officer John P. Surma told attendees at an
event marking the occasion.
U.S. Steel announced the project
in 2007 and held the groundbreaking in late 2008 (
amm.com, Oct. 28, 2008). The initial charge of the
battery took place Nov. 25, the company said.
"We are part of U.S.
Steels history, and with this coke battery, we are going
to be part of its future," United Steelworkers president Leo
Gerard said at the ceremony. "This investment makes a major
contribution to U.S. Steel, and U.S Steel makes a major
contribution to the economy."
Surma noted in a recent earnings
call that the steel producer now is capable of producing all of
its North American coke requirements internally (
amm.com, Jan. 30).
The new "C" battery replaces
batteries 7, 8 and 9, which were reportedly half a century old,
and incorporates state-of-the-art emissions-control technology
that meets all regulatory requirements of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and the Allegheny County (Pa.)
Health Department, the company said. The new battery also has
fewer coke ovens, which works to keep emissions down, it
A new low-emission quench tower
was also part of the investment and is one of three planned for
the facility. These improvements will help the company achieve
optimal air quality levels 18 months ahead of what was outlined
in a state implementation plan, according to U.S. Steel.
At the event, steel executives
and dignitaries took part in an old tradition in which they
ceremonially tossed a silver dollar into a car full of freshly
pushed hot coke.
"While we cannot locate the exact origin of this historic
Clairton tradition, we know it has long been a part of the
commissioning process for new batteries. The silver dollar is
meant to symbolize the companys investment in the new
battery," Surma said.