2017 Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship Finalists
Ongoing efforts by ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor to collaborate with conservation organizations have achieved the common goal of enhancing biodiversity on its properties.
The big integrated steelmaker at the south end of Lake Michigan adjacent to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore elected to pursue an initiative to reconnect disparate parcels of biological diversity on the plant site to the ecosystem of the surrounding National Lakeshore in 2007.
In 2016, the mill worked with 300 volunteers to assist with stewardship activities, while further strengthening its relationships with nonprofit organizations and conservation professionals to drive the innovative project forward.
Four components made up the environmental initiative. The first involved restoring 70 acres of woodland that included the Deerfield Woods Training Center. The company partnered with environmental professionals from the Wildlife Habitat Council, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, and Indiana Universitys Northwest Indiana Restoration Monitoring Initiative to identify plant and animal inventories and created a 1.5-mile walking trail on the property.
The second component involved working with the National Park Service, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Habitat Council and the Field Museum of Natural History to restore lakeshore property that had first been developed in 1972. The restoration mainly included debris removal and the addition of about 20 acres of native plants.
The third component involved the transformation of a 20-acre parcel encompassing a product storage area immediately south of the Deerfield Woods Training Center. A fourth and final component involved removing sludge from a 35-acre secondary wastewater treatment plant to expose the underlying sand and prepare the ground for discrete plantings of oak and pine.
All told, the four components of the plan have entailed an expenditure of nearly $6 million. The restoration, education and information-sharing activities bring together a variety of critical stakeholders to ArcelorMittal.
One of the thornier problems faced by integrated steelmakers is the wastage of by-product blast furnace and coke oven gas.
ArcelorMittal Dofasco helped solve that problem by installing a refurbished, 12-megawatt turbo-generator system at its Hamilton, Ontario Works in 2015 that consumes primary production waste gases that were previously flared.
Arcelor Mittal Dofasco was flaring on average 5 to 8 percent of the by-product fuels generated by its three blast furnaces and three coke ovens in 2012 when the steelmaker installed a refurbished 9.5-megawatt turbine generator at the No. 1 Boiler House to utilize waste gas in the production process.
In 2015, the company planned to close the No. 1 Coke Plant, which would change the energy footprint of the facility. The No. 1 Coke Plant was both a user of blast furnace and coke oven gas and a net overall producer of coke oven gas for use in the rest of the site. Shutting down the No. 1 Coke Plant would increase the overall surplus of blast furnace gas, and steam.
In 2015, a team of 50 employees installed a second turbine-generator to utilize the surplus blast furnace gas, through existing boiler capacity. The addition of 12-megawatt capacity in the second turbine generator helps produce almost 22 megawatts of power, which is enough to power almost 10,000 Ontario households. This recycled energy also prevents 4,500 tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere annually and reduces demand on the provinces electricity grid, helping both the community and the company.
ArcelorMittal Dofasco has completed 15 energy reduction projects since 2010 for a combined energy savings of 125,000 megawatthours- annually since 2015.
Outokumpu Americas long-term effort to address the water footprint of the companys Mexinox stainless steel finishing mill in San Luis Potosi, Mexico has delivered major dividends in the form of resource conservation.
San Luis Potosi is known for its industrial manufacturing sector as well as its traditional agricultural activities. The state of San Luis Potosi covers more than 23,000 square miles in a mostly dry arid area, where ground water is a valuable asset.
Beginning in 2001, the Outokumpu team, led by Outokumpu Mexinox environmental manager, Jorge Vieyra, embarked on a long-term mission to reduce the amount of water used in the stainless steel manufacturing process.
The first phase of the plan called for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant, which was built in 2002 and expanded in 2006. Additional water-treatment improvements were installed in 2012, including a sewage treatment system and an oily-water treatment system.
In 2013, the second phase of the project was completed and new crystallizer equipment installed. Further enhancements to the crystallization system are underway and are scheduled for completion in 2017.
Prior to launching the long-term, water-treatment initiative, Outokumpu Mexinox measured its wastewater recycling content at about 1-percent efficiency. Today, 99 percent of the total wastewater is treated, recycled and reused in its cold rolling process demonstrating an 87-percent increase in wastewater recycling.
Outokumpu noted that continuous improvement efforts are part of the culture throughout Outokumpu, and its Mexinox facility is no exception. The mill sets up yearly internal targets for water use. In 2016, the fresh water consumption for its cold rolling process was low, well below its internal target.
SSAB Americas ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability has translated into tangible gains ranging from reductions in the volume of waste being sent to landfills and energy consumption to the recycling of more materials
The companys environmental initiatives over the past five years have included the diversion of more than three-million pounds of trash
from landfills, a reduction in electricity consumption in certain areas by 70 percent due to new lighting, and the recycling of more than 200,000 tons of electric arc furnace (EAF) baghouse dust.
During the past five years, SSAB Americas has embarked on a comprehensive program to achieve a set of strategic goals in corporate responsibility. The company has focused on six key areas including improvements to scrap-tire recycling, scrap metal waste recycling at its Alabama facility, waste management for general trash at both its Iowa and Alabama mills, electric arc furnace (EAF) baghouse dust recycling at both mills, refractory brick recycling in Alabama and Iowa, and energy efficiency projects at its Iowa mill. Of the initiatives cited, only the baghouse dust recycling project required the outlay of capital.
Combined, the six key projects have not only made a significant environmental impact, but have saved the company more than $6 million. SSAB Americas has passed some of those savings back to the communities in which it operates. Through its Foundation for Education, money recouped by using recycled scrap tiresmore than $100,000 per year is donated to local schools.
On Earth Day 2017, SSAB Americas announced the launch of EcoSmart, a new awareness program. The EcoSmart program is the companys way of making people more aware of the environmental sustainability of steel.
For us, sustainability isnt something new; its built into who we are and how we operate, SSAB Americas said. In short, we are proud to make planet-friendly products using a planet-friendly process.
Western Steel & Supply
On a sunny day in March, 2016, Western Steel & Supply hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Aberdeen, Washington for its new, state-of-the-art solar system, and attendees including local and state officials, Port of Grays Harbor commissioners and directors, USDA officials, as well as the local Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders were on hand to examine the local companys commitment to greenhouse gas reduction.
In 2015, Western Steel & Supply signed a contract with South Sound Solar Inc. of Olympia, Washington to install a solar panel system on the roof of the companys steel warehouse and office building in Aberdeen.
After we were awarded a grant through the U.S. Department of Agricultures Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant program, we proceeded in February 2016 to install a 9.9 kW system with 36 Itek 275 Watt solar panel modules and 2 Solectria 5200TL inverters, the company said. There are 36 Made- in-Washington panels/modules on the roof that tie directly into the existing electrical system and into the inverters that are mounted on the interior wall of the warehouse.
Through the inverters, Western Steel provides power back to the grid of its electrical utility, Grays Harbor Public Utility District. The total cost of the system, including installation was $43,000.
By utilizing renewable energy, like solar, we are contributing to the recommendation of Washington Governor Jay Inslees Climate Legislative and Executive Workshop (CLEW) to reduce Washingtons greenhouse gas emissions, the company said. By producing 9,900 renewal energy kilowatt hours annually, we will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions by seven metric tons.