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Steel Production Goes Green

January 2 2007

The greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from producing steel has always been an environmental concern for the construction industry. Recently though, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have uncovered a new means of processing iron, a key ingredient in steel, that removes the direct emissions of GHGs.

This new procedure uses no more energy than the current method. The trick? Passing an electric current through a liquid mix of iron oxide, rather than heating it thermally, a method borrowed from aluminum smelting. This procedure, which gives off mostly oxygen rather than CO2 has been dubbed “molten oxide electrolysis” by Donald Sadoway, professor of materials chemistry at MIT. Professor Sadoway’s next objective: take the process to the steel mill floors.

TAUC will continue to follow this new development as it progresses. Part of our mission is to educate our members so that they are on the cutting edge of technology. This not only enhances their position in the marketplace but it’s a step in the right direction to advance union construction.

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