Nucor Investing in Start-Up Company Developing Zero-Carbon Iron Technology
, /PRNewswire/ — Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) announced today that it has made an equity investment in , a Colorado-based start-up developing a process to produce carbon-free iron that can be used to make steel. The company uses renewable energy to refine low-grade iron ores into high-purity iron through electrochemical and hydrometallurgical processes. This material will be used in the steelmaking process to offset other high-quality metallics that come with higher greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are excited to partner with Electra and its revolutionary process to produce emission-free iron,” said Leon Topalian, Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nucor Corporation. “Just as Nucor changed the face of the steel industry 53 years ago with our first electric arc furnace, successfully developing and scaling up a zero-carbon iron product is the type of transformative technology that could change the steel industry as we know it.”
The process developed by Electra produces Low-Temperature Iron (LTI) from commercial and low-grade ores using zero-carbon intermittent electricity. The company electrochemically refines iron ore into pure iron at 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) using renewable electricity. That iron can be turned into steel using existing electric arc furnaces, which account for 70% of steel production in the U.S.
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 tons of carbon dioxide for every ton of steel produced.
Using primarily recycled scrap as raw material, Nucor is already one of the cleanest steelmakers in the world. 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. 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.
“We are focused on investing our capital on opportunities like these that have the potential to take our company and the entire industry to the next level,” said Doug Jellison, Nucor’s Executive Vice President of Raw Materials, and a member of Electra’s Market Advisory Board. “We will continue to look to the future for new and innovative ways to help our customers achieve their sustainability goals.”
Nucor and its affiliates are manufacturers of steel and steel products, with operating facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Products produced include: carbon and alloy steel — in bars, beams, sheet and plate; hollow structural section tubing; electrical conduit; steel racking; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; precision castings; steel fasteners; metal building systems; insulated metal panels; overhead doors; steel grating; and wire and wire mesh. Nucor, through The David J. Joseph Company, also brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron and hot briquetted iron / direct reduced iron; supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap. Nucor is North America’s largest recycler.
Certain statements contained in this news release are “forward-looking statements” that involve risks and uncertainties which we expect will or may occur in the future and may impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “project,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could” and similar expressions are intended to identify those forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect the Company’s best judgment based on current information, and, although we base these statements on circumstances that we believe to be reasonable when made, there can be no assurance that future events will not affect the accuracy of such forward-looking information. As such, the forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may vary materially from the projected results and expectations discussed in this news release. Factors that might cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (1) competitive pressure on sales and pricing, including pressure from imports and substitute materials; (2) U.S. and foreign trade policies affecting steel imports or exports; (3) the sensitivity of the results of our operations to prevailing market steel prices and changes in the supply and cost of raw materials, including pig iron, iron ore and scrap steel; (4) the availability and cost of electricity and natural gas, which could negatively affect our cost of steel production or result in a delay or cancellation of existing or future drilling within our natural gas drilling programs; (5) critical equipment failures and business interruptions; (6) market demand for steel products, which, in the case of many of our products, is driven by the level of nonresidential construction activity in the United States; (7) impairment in the recorded value of inventory, equity investments, fixed assets, goodwill or other long-lived assets; (8) uncertainties surrounding the global economy, including excess world capacity for steel production, inflation and interest rate changes; (9) fluctuations in currency conversion rates; (10) significant changes in laws or government regulations affecting environmental compliance, including legislation and regulations that result in greater regulation of greenhouse gas emissions that could increase our energy costs, capital expenditures and operating costs or cause one or more of our permits to be revoked or make it more difficult to obtain permit modifications; (11) the cyclical nature of the steel industry; (12) capital investments and their impact on our performance; (13) our safety performance; and (14) the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and any variants of the virus. These and other factors are discussed in Nucor’s regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” of Nucor’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release speak only as of this date, and Nucor does not assume any obligation to update them, except as may be required by applicable law.