Structural Steel Production And The Demand Patterns Engineering Essay

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No country in the Caribbean community produces structural steel. However, based on import data for this material, the pattern of demand shows that Trinidad and Tobago is the largest importer of structural steel in the Caribbean community and the country experienced its highest demand for structural steel in 2002.

Trinidad and Tobago is strategically poised and capable of supplying material for the production of structural steel to meet the demand of the Caribbean Community. Nonetheless it will have to take into consideration factors such as the economy, technology, government, energy and the environment which affect production and implement measures such as improved processing, recycling and/or re-use for its improvement and sustainability.

Introduction

Definition of Steel

Steel is iron with just enough carbon (less than 1%) and small amounts of other elements to make it hard but not brittle. There are many different types of steel, each made for a particular purpose. The addition of elements such as manganese, silicon, chromium and nickel gives steel special properties such as strength, toughness and resistance to rust. Various finishing operations such as rolling, heat treating, cooling, softening and forging add to the properties of steel [Stephen Goodley and Lynn Wood,, "Global Steel Industry", New South Wales Higher School Certificate Online, http://www.hsc.csu.edu.au/geography/activity/global/global_steel/global_BHP.html (accessed 4th October 2010)].

Categories of Steel

Steel has been one of the key materials for a "modern" society. The steel industry can be categorized in three levels; crude steel, semi- finished steel, and finished steel. Crude steel is steel in its solidified state directly after casting. This is then further processed by rolling or other treatments, which can change its properties [World Steel Association, "Glossary", World Steel Association, http://www.worldsteel.org/?action=faqlist&id=40 (accessed 19th October 2010)]. The semi- finished steels comprise slab, billet, bloom, beam, and blank. The slab is used to produce flat products, such as hot-rolled steel, cold-rolled steel, and galvanized steel. The billet is used to produce long products, including bar and wire rod. The bloom, beam, and blank are used to produce heavy construction products [Rungnapa

Tongpool, Athiwatr Jirajariyavech, Chantana Yuvaniyama, et. al, "Analysis of steel production in Thailand: Environmental impacts and solutions", Energy 35 (2010): 4192]. Finished steel is steel that is ready to be made into a product (such as cars, cans, ships, and bridges). Finished steels come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and grades [World Steel Association, "Glossary", World Steel Association, http://www.worldsteel.org/?action=faqlist&id=40 (accessed 19th October 2010)].

Structural Steel

Steel used for structural support is called structural steel. It is identified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) as any steel that begins with the identification letter A (such as A500, A501, and so on) [Eric Chen, "Properties of Structural Steel", ehow.com, http://www.ehow.com/list_6539562_properties-structural-steel.html#ixzz13CcR2qsX (accessed 4th October 2010)]. Most steels used throughout Europe are specified to comply with the European standard EN 10025. There are also other national standards which remain in force [Wikipedia, "Structural Steel, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_steel (accessed 4th November 2010)]. For the purposes of this paper the following structural steel will be considered:

Angles

I, T and H beams and other shapes.

Production of Structural Steel

There are several ways of processing structural steel. The three main ways are:

Integrated steelworks- Blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace steelmaking (BF-BOS) which involves the three processes of iron making, steel making and shaping.

Electric arc furnace (EAF)- Mini Mill which uses scrap steel to produce new steel but lacks the capacity to complete the initial iron making process.

[Stephen Goodley and Lynn Wood, "Global Steel Industry", New South Wales Higher School Certificate Online, http://www.hsc.csu.edu.au/geography/activity/global/global_steel/global_BHP.html (accessed 4th October 2010)].

Integrated mini-mill- operates both the blast furnace and electrical furnace. Consists of a direct reduction furnace and an electric arc furnace with continuous billet casting. [Environmental assessment sourcebook, World Bank. Environment Dept World Bank. Environment Dept, Environmental assessment sourcebook, Volume 3 (USA: World Bank Publications, 1998), 136]

Steel Production in the Caribbean

The following figure illustrates the top ten crude steel producers in the world.

1

Figure 1: The top ten crude steel producers in the World for the period Jan 2010 to Sep 2010.

For the period January 2010 to September 2010 Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, the only crude steel producers in the Caribbean region, ranked 57th and 51st respectively in the world based on steel production. The following figure illustrates the ratios of steel produced in the period for this region.

2

Figure 2: The crude steel producers in the Caribbean Region for the period Jan 2010 to Sep 2010.

Even though Trinidad and Tobago do not produce structural steel, they became the leader in the Caribbean steel industry when the government constructed and commissioned the Iron and Steel Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Iscott) in 1980 [Newsday, "10 steel companies face closure...", Newsday, September 04, 2002]. To date there are only two significant players in the Trinidad and Tobago Steel Industry; ArcelorMittal and Nu-Iron Unlimited.

ArcelorMittal

Iscott made large losses until the commencement of a lease arrangement with the local subsidiary of an Indian company, Ispat, in 1989. Iscott's modern facilities at Point Lisas included two direct reduction plants with a combined capacity of 900,000 tons a year. The US$500 million plant used imported iron ore from Brazil in processing its steel [Countries of the World, "Trinidad and Tobago Economy - Iron and Steel" Photious.com, http://www.photius.com/countries/trinidad_and_tobago/economy/iron.html (accessed 5th November 2010)]. Ispat brought their team and made substantial investments in Iscott towards capital and environmental up-gradation. $10 million was spent on the equipment needed to unblock bottlenecks. Three months later production doubled and, within a year, the plant became profitable [IBS Centre for Management and Research, "The Turnaround of Caribbean Ispat Ltd. (CIL)", icmrindia.org, http://www.icmrindia.org/casestudies/catalogue/Business%20Strategy3/BSTA013.htm (accessed 6th November 2010)]

In 1994 Ispat acquired Iscott and the company was subsequently named Caribbean Ispat Limited (CIL) (renamed Mittal Steel Point Lisas). CIL, a subsidiary of Ispat International N.V. is the largest non-oil industrial complex in Trinidad and Tobago. They produced steel using an integrated minimill. In 1998, CIL had a capacity to produce 2.6 million metric tons (Mt) of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) because of the construction of a new DRI Midrex plant, which expanded CIL's capacity by 1.4. In 1999 CIL had three DRI units with a total capacity of 2.2m metric tons, as well as mills for billets and wire rods. Wire rod is the feedstock used by downstream manufacturers for the production of such essential building materials as welded wire mesh (BRC), rebar, nails and drawn wire [Volume 10 of South America, Central America and the Caribbean Regional Surveys of the World Series10th Ed 2002, South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2002 (UK: Routledge, 200) 735]. CIL is now known as Arcelor Mittal Point Lisas Ltd. It exports iron and steel products to the Far East, Central America, Latin America and the Middle East [Lou Anne Barclay, Foreign Direct Investment in Emerging Economies: Corporate Strategy and Investment Behaviour in the Caribbean Volume 16 of Routledge Studies in International Business and the World Economy (USA:Routledge, 2002)165]

Nu-Iron Unlimited

Nu-Iron Unlimited commenced production in December 2006 with the relocated assets of the Louisiana American Iron Reduction (AIR), a 1.4-million-tons-per-year DRI plant utilizing MIDREX® MEGAMOD technology. Nucor relocated these assets to Point Lisas Trinidad in 2005 and increased the capacity to 2 million tons per year [Commonwealth Business Council, Commonwealth Business Forum 2009 Project Exchange, Downstream iron and steel manufacturing]. According to Nucor, the relocation to Trinidad will benefit from a competitive supply of natural gas and favourable logistics for receiving iron ore and shipping DRI to the United States. The new entity named Nu-Iron Unlimited, expects to produce 1.8Mt/a of DRI [Steel Grips, "Nu-Iron plant, Trinidad, produces first DRI" Steel Grips, http://www.steel-grips.com/newsdesk/americas/Nu-Iron_plant_Trinidad_produces_first_DRI.html (accessed 5th November 2010)]

Steel Processing plant in Trinidad and Tobago

Integrated mini-mill (Direct Reduced Iron)

Reduction of the iron ore is achieved by the use of natural gas (or oil products) which is converted in a gas reforming furnace into a hydrogen containing gas. The sponge iron produced in the reduction process is fed to an electric arc furnace for conversion to steel. In the furnace, in addition to the sponge iron, considerable quantities of scrap iron are often used. The omission of the coking process and the use of high grade iron ores makes the process alternative less polluting than the conventional blast furnace process, but there can still be a significant emission of dust and carbon monoxide [Environmental assessment sourcebook, World Bank. Environment Dept World Bank [Environment Dept, Environmental assessment sourcebook, Volume 3 (USA: World Bank Publications, 1998), 136]. Today only 5% of the steel produced today is made through the DR route [Aprotech, "Steel", aprotech http://www.aprotech.se/industries_steel.htm (accessed 6th November 2010)]. The figure below illustrates the top ten (10) DRI producers in the world from January 2010 to September 2010.

3

Figure 3: The top ten DRI producers in the World for the period Jan 2010 to Sep 2010.

Structural Steel Imports

Although Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) are the leaders in the Caribbean steel industry, they are largest importers of structural steel in the Caribbean Community. The figures below show

the structural steel imports of Trinidad and Tobago from 1993 to 2010 (17) years. This is indicative of the pattern of demand for steel.

The top nine (9) countries from which T&T imports steel.

The growth rate of T&T's economy from 2000 to 2008.

4

Figure 4: Pattern of demand for structural steel in Trinidad and Tobago from 1993- 2010

5

Figure 5: The top nine countries from which Trinidad and Tobago imports Structural Steel (1994 to 2010)

6Table 1: The growth rate of the Trinidad and Tobago Economy during the period of 2000 to 2008

Economy

Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Inflation Rate (period average)

3.6

5.5

4.2

3.8

3.7

6.9

8.3

7.9

12

Growth rate

4.2

11.3

25.4

17.4

20.1

21.3

12.2

11.5

10

Real GDP Growth

5.7

4.1

2.7

4.1

7.9

5.4

13.3

5.5

3.5 [7] 

The pattern of demand for structural steel for countries of the Caribbean Community from 2001 to 2009, excluding T&T, is shown below.

8

Figure 6: Pattern of demand for structural steel of Caricom Countries, except Trinidad and Tobago from 2001- 2009

The following figure shows the demand for all Caricom countries.

9

Figure 7: Pattern of demand for structural steel of Caricom Countries from 2001- 2009

10

Figure 8: Trinidad and Tobago's demand for the different types of Structural Steel (1994 to 2010)

Table 2: Figure 8 Legend: Different types of Structural Steel Imported by Trinidad and Tobago from 1994 to 2010

Type of Structural Steel

Letter Code

Angles of non alloy steel

A

Angles(cold-formed) of non-alloy steel

B

Other angles, shapes cold-formed etc.

C

Other angles,shapes

D

Other shapes of iron and non alloy steel

E

Angles,shapes of iron <80mm in height

F

Angles(hot-rolled) of non-alloy steel

G

Other angles, shapes hot-rolled, drawn etc

H

Other angles,shapes from flat-rolled prod.

I

Angles,shapes etc of non-alloy steel

J

Other angles,shapes

K

Angles (flat rolled) of non-alloy steel

L

I sections of iron etc <80mm in height

M

T sections of iron etc <80mm in height

N

I,T sections of iron =>80mm in height

O

U sections of iron etc <80mm in height

P

I sections of iron etc <80mm in height

Q

H sections of iron etc =>80mm in height

R

The factors affecting the production of Structural steel and Challenges being faced in the Industry:

Steel can remain in use for years or even decades before it is available for re-use, limiting the availability of scrap steel for EAF steelmaking. Due to a rising demand for steel globally there is insufficient scrap steel to produce the world's steel needs. The short fall is significant with scrap steel unable to produce even 50% of these requirements. For this reason steel produced from raw materials is still necessary. [OneSteel, "Steel making at Onesteel", Sustainability at OneSteel (2010) 2]

Since there are no structural steel producers in the Caribbean community this section will review the general factors affecting the production of structural steel and the challenges that are being faced in the global industry.

Economic

Steel is an important product. Many countries protect their local steel industry but on a global scale, this has led to excess productive capacity, lower prices and poor profitability. Structural steel production increases when economies are growing, i.e. governments are investing in infrastructure. Economic recession means a dip in structural steel production as investment falls. [Stephen Goodley and Lynn Wood, "Global Steel Industry", New South Wales Higher School Certificate Online, http://www.hsc.csu.edu.au/geography/activity/global/global_steel/global_BHP.html (accessed 4th October 2010)].

In some instances companies have a monopoly control in the country. For example, for much of this century BHP has had a monopoly control in Australian iron and steel production. A steel plant represents a billion dollar investment and new firms were blocked from starting production, because BHP was the only company that produced and sold steel in the marketplace. [Stephen Goodley and Lynn Wood, "Global Steel Industry", New South Wales Higher School Certificate Online, http://www.hsc.csu.edu.au/geography/activity/global/global_steel/global_BHP.html (accessed 4th October 2010)].

During global economic crisis the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Steel Committee discussed the impact of the global economic crisis on industrial sectors and, in particular, on the steel sector. It concluded that in virtually all economies, the global economic crisis has led to a sharp contraction in steel production, consumption, prices, trade and employment [ OCED, "OECD Steel Committee sees market recovery beginning end 2009 at earliest", Newsroom http://www.oecd.org/document/35/0,3343,en_21571361_44315115_42981923_1_1_1_1,00.html (accessed 5th November 2010)]

Technological

Steel manufacturing is an intensely competitive global industry. Investment in modern equipment and continual improvement in its manufacturing processes, among other factors, has increased productivity in the U.S. steel industry sufficiently to remain competitive in the global market for steel [United States Labour Department, "Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition" Bureau of Labour Statistics http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs014.htm (accessed 5th November 2010)] There is always rationalization and structural change in the global steel industry when new technology is introduced e.g. the use of EAF and Integrated Mini-Mills. Companies with older technology (BF-BOS) are either uncompetitive and have to be closed or their productivity has to be increased by investing in new facilities[Stephen Goodley and Lynn Wood, "Global Steel Industry", New South Wales Higher School Certificate Online, http://www.hsc.csu.edu.au/geography/activity/global/global_steel/global_BHP.html (accessed 4th October 2010)].

Government

Crude steel production fell for the fourth successive month in September 2010, according to World Steel Association data covering 66 countries. Steel Business Briefing calculates that monthly production has dropped by almost 10% since it peaked at 124m tonnes in May. China's September production of 47.9mt was almost 6% lower than the same month in 2009, as steelmakers cut output to meet government-mandated energy saving targets [Poten & Partners, "Iran's September Steel Output Increased 16.5%", Poten & Partners http://www.poten.com/NewsDetails.aspx?id=10728279 (accessed 5th November 2010)]. Australian steel producers currently operate in an environment where they have less government support than in most other countries. The policy of low protection was introduced in the late 1970's because Australian manufacturing was inefficient and uncompetitive. By reducing protection, the government forced the whole manufacturing sector to become more efficient and competitive [Stephen Goodley and Lynn Wood, "Global Steel Industry", New South Wales Higher School Certificate Online, http://www.hsc.csu.edu.au/geography/activity/global/global_steel/global_BHP.html (accessed 4th October 2010)].

Wars also affect steel production. The two world wars for example represented a peak in production. This was then immediately followed by a dip then a strong climb in production as economies recovered from the war and entered a period of prosperity and growth [Stephen Goodley and Lynn Wood, "Global Steel Industry", New South Wales Higher School Certificate Online, http://www.hsc.csu.edu.au/geography/activity/global/global_steel/global_BHP.html (accessed 4th October 2010)].

Energy Supply

The steel industry is the largest energy-consuming industry in the world. In North America, iron and steel production represents approximately two percent of energy consumption [American Iron and Steel Institute, "Saving One Barrell of Oil per Ton (SOBOT) A New Roadmap for Transformation of Steelmaking Process", October 2005]. Integrated mills are large facilities that are typically only economical to build in 2,000,000 ton per year annual capacity and up. Final products made by an integrated plant are usually large structural sections, heavy plate, strip, wire rod, railway rails, and occasionally long products such as bars and pipe. Due to the energy cost and structural stress associated with heating and cooling a blast furnace, typically these primary steelmaking vessels will operate on a continuous production campaign of several years duration. Even during periods of low steel demand, it may not be feasible to let the blast furnace grow cold, though some adjustment of the production rate is possible [Aprotech, "Steel", aprotech http://www.aprotech.se/industries_steel.htm (accessed 6th November 2010]

While inflationary prices are often the result of supply issues, this was not the case with structural steel. Instead, the run-up in prices was primarily the result of higher raw material costs plus rapidly climbing energy charges [Buildings, "The Scoop on Structural Steel" buildings.com, http://www.buildings.com/ArticleDetails/tabid/3321/ArticleID/3509/Default.aspx (accessed 5th November 2010)].

Environmental

Being a heavy industry, steel making has a major impact on the environment. The manufacturing process creates significant air, water and noise pollution while mining raw materials and the high-energy demands of steel making also contribute greatly to pollution of the environment [Stephen Goodley and Lynn Wood, "Global Steel Industry", New South Wales Higher School Certificate Online, http://www.hsc.csu.edu.au/geography/activity/global/global_steel/global_BHP.html (accessed 4th October 2010)]. A major environmental hazard associated with integrated steel mills is the pollution produced in the manufacture of coke, which is an essential intermediate product in the reduction of iron ore in a blast furnace. Integrated mills may also adopt some of the processes used in mini-mills, such as arc furnaces and direct casting, to reduce production costs [geologydata.info, "Iron ore deposits of India", geology. Info, http://www.geologydata.info/ironore_deposits.htm (accessed 6th November 2010)]

Sustainability

Expansion and development of the built environment is the foremost cause of depletion of our non-renewable natural resources. As a compromise we must continue to develop new ways to re-use materials consumed in the construction process or risk, at some point, an austere reduction in the availability of resources for use in the building industry [Michael J. Emmer "A Decision Process Model for Closing the Structural Steel Materials Loop in Construction" (PhD diss., University of Florida, 2009) ]

The Brundtland Commission Report of 1987 states the definition of sustainability as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" [Michael J. Emmer "A Decision Process Model for Closing the Structural Steel Materials Loop in Construction" (PhD diss., University of Florida, 2009)]. The consumption of non-renewable resources and the creation of wastes have been identified as among the key issues that our society must address in order not to prejudice the opportunities for future generations [Mark Gorgolewski, Vera Straka, Jordan Edmonds and Carmela Sergio "Facilitating Greater Reuse and Recycling of Structural Steel in the Construction and Demolition Process", (Final Report, Reyerson University, 2006)].

In the 1980's the structural steel industry moved away from the traditional iron ore based, blast furnace technology (Basic Oxygen Furnace or BOF) for the production of structural steel. This decision moved the structural steel industry from the mode of being a consumer of natural resources (iron ore) to being a recycler of discarded materials (steel and iron scrap). Today's structural steel mills are, in effect, our nation's largest recycling plants consuming steel from demolished buildings, industrial scrap and steel scrap from curbside recycling programs [AISC, "Sustainability" Project Solution, http://www.aisc.org/content.aspx?id=3808 (accessed 8th October 2010)]

The following are several means of increasing the sustainability of structural steel:

Improve the production process (environmental)

Recycling

Reuse

Improvement of the production process

The implementation of the following new technological changes and innovations can bring about a reduction in sectoral emissions [World Coal Institute, Coal and Steel Report (03_06_2009) (Coal and Steel, 2009) 19.:

Pulverised Coal Injection- This is the injection of pulverised coal into the blast furnace. Significant interest has also been shown in the injection of plastic wastes into blast furnace operations as a substitute for coke and coal. Hydrogen from the plastics can be used as fuel for the process [World Coal Institute, Coal and Steel Report (03_06_2009) (Coal and Steel, 2009) 19].

Direct Reduced Iron- This utilises large domestic reserves of gas or steam coal, therefore reducing costs associated with importing coking coal and coke making [World Coal Institute, "Coal and Steel Report (03_06_2009)"Coal and Steel, 2009 page21].

COREX® - This is a coal-based smelting process that produces hot metal or pig iron. The process gasifies non-coking coal in a smelting reactor, which also produces liquid iron. The higher efficiency of the process reduces CO2 emissions [World Coal Institute, "Coal and Steel Report (03_06_2009)"Coal and Steel, 2009 page21].

FINEX® - This is an innovative process for hot metal production. Molten iron is produced directly using iron ore fines and non-coking coal rather than processing through sintering and coke making. Emissions of pollutants can be significantly reduced using this process. [World Coal Institute, "Coal and Steel Report (03_06_2009)"Coal and Steel, 2009 page21].

Steel Recycling

Structural Steel is 100% recyclable. In 2005, over 440Mt of steel were recycled. The EAF process uses almost entirely recycled scrap, while the BOF process can also use up to 30% recycled steel. Around 43% of total world crude steel production is made from recycled steel. Steel that is used today will be recovered, processed and used again, making steel the most recycled material in the world. The by-products from iron and steel making can also be recycled - slag, for example, can be solidified, crushed, and used in soil mix, road surfaces and cement [World Coal Institute, "Coal and Steel Report (03_06_2009)"Coal and Steel, 2009 page21].

Other wastes from the steel industry can also be recycled. Engineers working for Austpac Resources (a minerals technology company) have invented a way to convert steel industry wastes into saleable Direct Reduced Iron using their Enhanced Acid Regeneration System (EARS) [Sustainability matters "Recycling wastes from the steel industry" Sustainability matters http://www.sustainabilitymatters.net.au/articles/27406-Recycling-wastes-from-the-steel-industry (accessed 6th November 2010)]. Disposal of spent pickle liquor (SPL), as well as electric arc furnace (EAF) dusts and mill scale waste, has always presented a costly environmental problem for steel manufacturers [Sustainability matters "Recycling wastes from the steel industry" Sustainability matters http://www.sustainabilitymatters.net.au/articles/27406-Recycling-wastes-from-the-steel-industry (accessed 6th November 2010)] .By adding the mill scale and EAF dust to the process, Austpac claims to be able to cost-effectively generate a higher yield of saleable iron and produce far less carbon emissions [Sustainability matters "Recycling wastes from the steel industry" Sustainability matters http://www.sustainabilitymatters.net.au/articles/27406-Recycling-wastes-from-the-steel-industry (accessed 6th November 2010)].

Re-use

Theoretically it can be many years before structural steel is available for re-use. Therefore the availability of steel scrap is an important concern and a limiting factor in the application of EAF. Reuse of steel generates reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by saving on primary steel production, as well as reducing the use of primary resources, generating less waste, and using less energy [Mark Gorgolewski, Vera Straka, Jordan Edmonds and Carmela Sergio "Facilitating Greater Reuse and Recycling of Structural Steel in the Construction and Demolition Process", (Final Report, Reyerson University, 2006)]. A limiting factor for greater adoption of reuse of steel components is the lack of a well established mechanism for exchange of these components. Some mechanism is needed to make available steel components easily accessible to designers, construction companies, and others who may wish to use such components in new construction projects[Mark Gorgolewski, Vera Straka, Jordan Edmonds and Carmela Sergio "Facilitating Greater Reuse and Recycling of Structural Steel in the Construction and Demolition Process", (Final Report, Reyerson University, 2006)].

There is also the use of designs tools that address steel sustainability issues and adds value to the buildings constructed by them. In North America, over the last few years the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDâ„¢) green building rating system has provided a framework to help building design and construction decisions to be made and building projects to be evaluated for their sustainability [Mark Gorgolewski, Vera Straka, Jordan Edmonds and Carmela Sergio "Facilitating Greater Reuse and Recycling of Structural Steel in the Construction and Demolition Process", (Final Report, Reyerson University, 2006)].

The LEEDâ„¢ system was developed to provide a standard for what constitutes a "sustainable building" and to transform existing building markets so that sustainable design, construction and operation become mainstream practices. It is also hoped that it will prevent exaggerated or false claims of sustainability, and to provide a common standard of measurement. A building is classified as Certified (26 to 32 points), Silver (33 to 38 points), Gold (39 to 51 points) or Platinum (52 or more points) depending upon the total number of points achieved. To be LEEDâ„¢ certified, all the prerequisites must be met, and a minimum number of points scored[Mark Gorgolewski, Vera Straka, Jordan Edmonds and Carmela Sergio "Facilitating Greater Reuse and Recycling of Structural Steel in the Construction and Demolition Process", (Final Report, Reyerson University, 2006)].

Methodology

The type of research done for this paper was a secondary research /desktop research. It involved accessing literature from published resources and non-published sources. The methodology for this research is as follows.

Understand the requirements of the question/topic and develop a framework for answering the question.

Identify and select means of gathering information.

Use the GOOGLE, UWI Main Library and other search engines and public and the UWI library to gather information about the topic. This includes information such as the structural steel and sustainability etc. Gather all statistical data available for analysing the patterns of structural steel in the Caribbean.

Clarify and ratify the requirements of the question/topic from the class lecturer (audit operation).

Analyse fully all statistics data and literature and determine the minimum acceptable criteria for the source of all relevant material e.g. books and journals written by professionals or trustworthy newspaper articles.

Select statistical data and literature by eliminating all sources which do not possess all the minimum criteria based on the type of literature, qualifications and credibility of the authors and the relevance literature.

Assess the degree of relative importance of the various terms in the topic, i.e. from essential through desirable and for each content place the potential literature in ranking order.

Evaluate/read in detail the literature to determine which gives the best combination of the various terms in the topic. Make comments.

Augment/rewrite in own words where possible and reference all material.

Proof read, edit and format for final print.

Due to time constraints, primary information through the use of instruments such as questionnaires, interviews and observation could not be obtained.

Results/Findings

The findings from the research show that no Caribbean country produces structural steel, i.e. steels for the framing of buildings (angles, I, H and T beams and other shapes). However T&T produces crude steel, semi-finished steel and finished steel (except structural steel). Although Cuba also produces crude steel, T&T produces approximately two and half times more.

T&T is the only Caribbean country to utilise the DRI process. Their integrated mini-mill produces steel of billets and wire rods. Billets are intermediate stage products which are later made into structural steel and the wire rod is used by finishing manufacturers to produce welded wire mesh (BRC), rebar, nails and drawn wire. The country produces the latter products from the wire rod. There is no production of blooms that may be rolled into structural steel.

Most of the structural steel imported into the Caribbean Community is by Trinidad and Tobago (75%), where Brazil is the major supplier. Based on tonnage, I sections were the most imported structural steel component and the demand for steel peaked in the country in 2002 (112,564 tons). There was also a peak in 2002 for Jamaica (10,913 tons). The total import of structural steel for the Caribbean Community from 2001 to 2009 was 501,937tons. From the research it was found that T&T presently has the capacity to produce approximately 4.2m metric ton/year of DRI to serve the Caricom demand of 501,937 tons of Structural Steel.

The following figure shows the comparison of the demand for structural steel between Caribbean countries.

Figure 9: Comparative demand for Structural Steel between Caricom Countries

Based on the Global Steel Industry, the following factors may affect the production of structural steel in the Caribbean.

Economic.

Technological

Government

Energy

Environmental

The following are examples for improvement and suitability of Structural Steel:

Recycling

Improved processing

Reuse

There is also the use of designs tools that address steel sustainability issues and adds value to the buildings constructed by them, such as LEED.

Discussion

T&T produces DRI, crude steel and finished steel products for building materials such as BRC. However, it does not produce structural steel although the fact that it is the largest importer of structural steel in the Caribbean Community shows that there is a local need. It imports most of its structural steel and iron ore for its integrated mini plant from Brazil.

According to the data, T&T experienced its highest demand for structural steel in 2002 with I sections being the most imported structural steel for the 17 year study period. The spike in 2002 can be indicative of consumer demands, economic growth and infrastructural development. Although further research must be carried out to ascertain the specific cause of the 2002 spike in that year the country experienced a 25.4% growth rate (the highest during 2000 to 2008) and steel prices were depressed globally. Note however that the growth rate doesn't take into account inflation and the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 2.7 %, the lowest for the period.

The scope of this paper excluded factors affecting the production of steel in the Caribbean, thus no investigations were carried out in this area. However research has shown that there are several main factors that affect production of structural steel globally. Also, although T&T is strategically poised to import raw material, supply material for the production of structural steel and to produce structural steel to meet the demand of the Caribbean Community, it will have to take into consideration the following factors affecting production:

Economic- economic recession means a dip in structural steel production as investment falls. A steel plant represents a billion dollar investment and in some instances companies may have a monopoly control in the Caribbean region, thus to penetrate this market may be difficult. The structural steel industry is characterized by large economies of scale, especially in the steel blast-furnace phase of production. Out of the 91 crude steel producers in the world, on a monthly basis from January 2010 to September 2010, Trinidad and Tobago produced 0.001 % of the combined top ten producing countries in the world. In order for T&T to make its presence felt in this highly competitive industry, its production must be highly competitive.

Technological- companies with older technology. E.g BF-BOS are either uncompetitive and have to be closed or their productivity has to be increased by investing in new facilities. Investment in modern equipment and continual improvement in its manufacturing processes, among other factors will increase productivity. Newer technology requires either specialist staff or training. Research has shown that even though T&T had DRI technology they were unable to attain maximum production until it leased Iscott to Ispat. Ispat's team with a core competency in production technology enabled doubled production levels within three months.

Government- steelmakers cut output to meet government-mandated energy saving targets. Also when the government reduces protection of the companies, they force the whole manufacturing sector to become more efficient and competitive. As government changes so does the policy. E.g. in T&T, the smelter plant was initiated by one Government and abandoned by the next.

Energy- The steel industry is the largest energy-consuming industry in the world. Due to the energy cost and structural stress associated with integrated mills for heating and cooling a blast furnace, typically these vessels will have to operate even during periods of low steel demand. Although some adjustment of the production rate is possible it may not be enough for periods of low demand. Trinidad and Tobago would have to assess the energy required to maintain production at a competitive level.

Environmental-Steel making has a major impact on the environment. The manufacturing process creates significant air, water and noise pollution while mining raw materials and the high-energy demands of steel making also contributes greatly to pollution of the environment. Production cost rises as companies try to utilise greener methods of production. Trinidad and Tobago would have to inculcate green practices in the production of structural steel while maintaining its competitive edge.

Having evaluated the methods of increasing the sustainability of structural steel, implementation of the following can help meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to use it to meet theirs:

Steel Recycling- The EAF process uses almost entirely recycled scrap, while the BOF process can also use up to 30% recycled steel. Around 43% of total world crude steel production is made from recycled steel. Steel that is used today will be recovered, processed and used again, making steel the most recycled material in the world.

Reuse- Reuse of steel generates reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by saving on primary steel production, as well as reducing use of primary resources, generating less waste, and using less energy. A limiting factor for greater adoption of reuse of steel component is the lack of a well established mechanism for exchange of these components.

Improved production processes:

Pulverised Coal Injection- This is the injection of pulverised coal into the blast furnace. Significant interest has also been shown in the injection of plastic wastes into blast furnace operations as a substitute for coke and coal. Hydrogen from the plastics can be used as fuel for the process.

Direct Reduced Iron - utilises large domestic reserves of gas or steam coal, therefore reducing environmental impacts associated with importing coking coal and coke making (carbon footprint).

COREX® - COREX® is a coal-based smelting process that produces hot metal or pig iron. The process gasifies non-coking coal in a smelting reactor, which also produces liquid iron. The higher efficiency of the process reduces CO2 emissions.

FINEX® - FINEX® is an innovative process for hot metal production. Molten iron is produced directly using iron ore fines and non-coking coal rather than processing through sintering and coke making. Emissions of pollutants can be significantly reduced using this process.

Summary and Conclusion

The pattern of demand of steel in Caribbean shows Trinidad and Tobago is the largest importer of structural steel and, in the last 17 years, it experienced its highest demand for structural steel in 2002. Most of the steel imported were I sections.

There are no Structural Steel Producers in the Caribbean. However Trinidad and Tobago is the leader in the Caribbean Steel Industry. It produces crude steel, DRI and finished steel products such as BRC, rebars, nails, drawn wires. It exports iron and steel products to the Far East, Central America, Latin America and the Middle East.

The country is strategically poised to import raw material and export structural steel. It is also capable of supplying material for the production of structural steel to meet the demand of the Caribbean Community; however it will have to take into consideration the following factors affecting production:

Economic

Technological

Government

Energy

Environmental

There are also several measures that can be implemented for improvement and sustainability of Structural Steel. These are:

The implementation of better processing methods

Pulverised Coal Injection-

Direct Reduced Iron -

COREX®.

FINEX®

Recycling

Reuse

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