After more than four years of construction, US Steel Corp. welcomed government and labor officials Thursday to officially commission its newest coke battery. C Battery, along with new low-emissions quench towers are expected to reduce emissions from the Mon Valley Works Clairton Plant.
US Steel has invested more than $500 million in the project, which replaces ovens that were more than 50 years old in some cases. Officials say C Battery meets all regulations set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Allegheny Department of Health.
“It’s the ultimate in recycling how they take materials and use it for other processes, very little goes to waste, which is all of what we talk about today in the environmental community – cleaning up the air in the Mon Valley and C Battery and how much more efficient and clean that’s going to be,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Made from coal, coke has a number of uses including steel making. The commissioning of C Battery allows the Clairton Plant to make more than 4.5 tons of coke a year. In addition to coke, the byproducts are also useful.
“Each year our Mon Valley Works facilities recycle enough coke oven gas and blast furnace gas to provide, on average, more than 40 million mmBTUs of electrical power generation and thermal energy requirements. To put it in perspective, that’s enough energy to power approximately 400,000 American households annually. We also rely on Clairton to generate electricity that is used throughout our Mon Valley facilities,” said US Steel CEO John Surma.
Over the course of the project, more than 800 jobs were created, and Surma said local businesses and service providers benefitted from the project. About 1,300 people currently work at the Clairton Plant. The C Battery and low-emissions quench towers are expected to keep jobs secure and boost the economy.
“I look forward to a bright future as soon as we can convince a bunch of people in this country that manufacturing matters and we ought to start making things in America again, and I’m tired of see Chinese s--t all over the place,” said Leo Gerard, president of United Steelworkers International.
The officials and others in attendance threw ceremonial silver dollars into a hot car full of freshly pushed coke from C battery, a traditional part of commissioning for new batteries at the plant.