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Energy Use: Steel

Overall, the Primary Metals industries consume nearly 11% of all the manufacturing energy in the U.S. The Department of Energy has compiled the following energy use statistics:

The steel industry consumes 2.5% of all domestic energy use and about 8% of all U.S. manufacturing energy use. Close to 40% of the energy consumed is used in blast furnace iron making. Energy costs account for about 15% of the cost of producing steel. Also about 10% of the electricity consumed by steel making facilities is generated on-site.

In 1994, the average intensity (excluding electricity losses) of producing semi-finished steel at integrated mills using BOF steelmaking was about 20 million Btu/ton; for EAF steel producers, it was 8 million Btu/ton (AISI 1995).

For integrated steel mills, the choice of fuels is driven by the need to consume the largest possible volume of by-product fuels (coke oven gas or blast furnace gas) to avoid flaring them for "no-value". The Department of Energy has sponsored a number of recent studies to define the trend in reduced energy usage in the steel industry and to project what efficiencies could be gained by 2010 and beyond. In one study (Fruehan, 2000) theoretical minimum energy consumptions for several basic processes were calculated and then modified to reflect real-world conditions. Another study (Stubbles, 2000) defined the average energy intensity for steel making in integrated mills at 21.8 Mbtu per ton and at facilities with EAFs as between 11.9 and 10.8 Mbtu per ton.