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U.S. Steel unveils new coke battery

Keywords: Tags  coke, U.S. Steel, John Surma, Leo Gerard, Clairton, C battery, emissions reduction, Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Gordon

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 company’s raw materials position.

The $500-million project was the largest-ever investment in the Clairton plant’s 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 (, Oct. 28, 2008). The initial charge of the battery took place Nov. 25, the company said.

"We are part of U.S. Steel’s 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 (, 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 said.

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 company’s investment in the new battery," Surma said.

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