Mobile-headquartered steel manufacturer SSAB Americas recently announced the intention for its operations to produce steel using a completely fossil-free process by 2026.
As previously reported in Lagniappe, the multinational Nordic-based firm completed its North American move in 2018, relocating some 60 corporate employees to the 17th floor of RSA Tower.
SSAB Americas runs two plate and coil production steel mills, one in Axis (SSAB Alabama) and one in Montpelier, Iowa (SSAB Iowa). They also have three cut-to-length facilities in St. Paul, Minn., Houston and Toronto. Until 2018, their corporate headquarters had been in Lisle, Ill., some 25 miles southwest of Chicago.
An additional office is also in the process of build-out at its Axis plant, with plans to possibly add 50 more workers after upgrades are finished.
With a target date set, SSAB Americas will reportedly be the first supplier of fossil-free steel in North America. Upgrades are currently underway at SSAB Iowa. The site is expected to be powered completely by renewable energy sometime in 2022.
The conglomerate’s more technically advanced mill at SSAB Alabama, which employs more than 600 workers locally, is expected to complete its industrial greening transition closer to the announced end date.
Completing such an undertaking by the mid-2020s is no mean feat. Collectively, both U.S. plants have a combined annual production capacity of 2.4 million metric tons, utilizing a scrap-based, electric arc furnace (EAF) method to produce steel.
“SSAB continues to innovate our products and manufacturing processes, and accordingly, we will transition toward fossil-free steelmaking and renewable energy,” Chuck Schmitt, president of SSAB Americas, said.
Ambitious, eco-friendly initiatives are nothing new for the Stockholm-based global steel manufacturer. Three times over the past half-decade — in 2015, 2017 and 2018 — the company won the American Metal Market Award for Steel Excellence in Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship.
“Our customers and end users are excited to collaborate with us to enable them to be the first in their respective sectors to use SSAB fossil-free steel in their products. Ultimately, our goal is to create a completely fossil-free value chain, from the raw materials and through to the end products.” Schmitt said.
Using almost 100 percent recycled materials in their production process, SSAB Iowa and SSAB Alabama intend to utilize fossil-free sponge iron produced in Sweden as part of the Hybrit project in the coming years — a joint project led by SSAB with Swedish mining company LKAB and Swedish energy company Vattenfall.
SSAB’s advanced, high-strength steels, such as Hardox and Strenx premium brands, will be further enhanced by a fossil-free production process.
“The future of manufacturing and renewable energy is happening right now, and I look forward to SSAB continuing to be an important part of that overall effort in Iowa,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said.
SSAB Iowa also partners with Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, for its renewable power. The new steel produced is also 100 percent recyclable.
“MidAmerican is proud to deliver clean, renewable energy to our customers like SSAB so they can offer sustainable products and services to the people who rely on them,” Adam Wright, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy, said. “We are continuing to invest in clean energy to achieve a 100 percent renewable energy future that is great for the environment and important for our economy.”
To date, SSAB has employees in over 50 countries, including production facilities in Sweden, Finland and the U.S. The company is publicly listed (Nasdaq: OMX) and is traded on the Nordic Exchange in Stockholm as well as on a secondary exchange in Helsinki. More information about the firm can be found at ssab.com.
Hargrove announces partnership with German-based firm
Bruehl, Germany-headquartered HIMA, a leading global provider of smart safety solutions for industrial applications, recently announced a partnership with Mobile-based Hargrove Controls + Automation as a new approved partner.
The new business relationship will reportedly allow Hargrove and HIMA to jointly offer new customized solutions to facilitate increased safety processes for plants and factories both locally and globally.
“It’s a natural partnership,” Stefan Basenach, HIMA Group vice president, said. “HIMA is a technology leader in this sector with more than 35,000 installed TÜV-certified safety systems worldwide. As we continue to expand our U.S. presence, we look for relationships with companies like the Hargrove team to deliver safety lifecycle consulting and HIMA-safety solutions to our clients.”
The new partnership will provide hazard and operability studies (HAZOP) and layers of protection analyses (LOPA), design review participation, probability calculation for failure on demand (PFD) processes and tests on new systems.
In short, the combined capabilities of Hargrove and HIMA will help process industrial operations teams when installing or maintaining “fail-safe” control systems that have logic actuators, sensors and other control equipment. The services will be independent from basic processes and procedures to add an additional layer of safety so functionality is not compromised.
“Our clients have indicated that one of our differentiators is our ability to provide full-service process safety lifecycle services, detailed design and project execution alongside controls and automation system integration,” said Karen Griffin, PE, vice president of Hargrove Controls + Automation.
“A safety instrumented system is critical to Hargrove’s clients’ processes and the safe operation of their facilities. Our certified functional safety engineers are experienced in the entire safety lifecycle, and we often install HIMA solutions at our client sites. Hargrove has a team of HIMA factory-trained applications programmers to provide more boots-on-the-ground support where needed,” she said.
Founded in 1908, HIMA is a family-owned company that operates from over 50 locations worldwide and focuses on companies that operate in the oil, gas, chemical and energy-producing sectors. HIMA also provides comprehensive solutions for the efficient control and monitoring of turbomachinery (TMC), burners and boilers (BMC) and pipelines (PMC).
Originally established in 1995 as Hargrove Engineering, subsidiary Hargrove Controls + Automation and Hargrove Engineers + Constructors offer full-service Energy Performance Contracting (EPC), engineering, construction, automation, life sciences and technical services.
Currently, the company employs over 2,200 in 14 offices across the U.S. More information about the firm can be found at hargrove-epc.com.
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