In detail, the process produces Low-Temperature Iron (LTI) from commercial and low-grade ores. The company electrochemically refines iron ore into pure iron at 60 degrees Celsius using renewable electricity. That iron can be turned into steel using existing electric arc furnaces.
Electra’s process results in zero carbon dioxide emissions. By comparison, approximately 70% of the steel produced globally is made with blast furnace technology, an extractive process fed by iron ore, coal, and limestone that emits about two tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of steel produced.
Nucor already uses primarily recycled scrap as raw material and is, thus, considered a clean steelmaker.
“The circular nature of remelting recycled scrap in electric arc furnaces, combined with steel’s ability to be infinitely recycled, means that Nucor’s steelmaking facilities generate roughly one-third of the carbon dioxide of extractive steelmaking plants,” the firm said in a media statement.
“Its investment in Electra is one of several investments the company is making that furthers Nucor’s status as a sustainability leader and builds on the innovation that has already led to cleaner steel production in the United States.”