Statistics published in 2018 stated that the steel industry is worth around $900 billion a year which means that it is an economical asset that we cannot lose. With this said, many people fail to realise that over 70% of the steel that is produced every year uses coal and that global production as a whole actually relies on it. Since coal is a non-renewable energy source, the team here at Pearson Fuels have decided to go over how it is used in the steel industry and whether steel production will be able to outlast the demise of the fossil fuel. Read on to find out more…
How is Steel Made?
In order to make steel, iron ore must be mined and extracted from the ground. After this, the material is then smelted in a large oven known as a blast furnace at very high temperatures where impurities are removed and carbon is added. This is done by adding a material known as ‘coke’, which is created by burning coal in a control environment and is an essential component in the steel industry.
What is Coking Coal?
There are many different types of coal that can be found within the earth. In fact, coking coal is the name given to traditional bituminous coal that has undergone a ‘coking’ process in order to remove volatile impurities so that it can be utilised for industrial purposes. This is done by subjecting the coal to high temperatures in the absence of oxygen which leaves behind a very dark black material that is almost pure carbon. This finished product can then be used during the steel making process.
The Future of Steel
Although steel recycling is incredibly popular in 2019, it is important to note that the entire industry relies on coal in order to craft new material. As it stands, there is currently no alternative way to make steel on a grand scale without the use of coking coal which means that future industries could be in danger. With this said, statistics suggest that we have enough coal reserves to last for another 150 years at the current rate of consumption which means that there is more than enough time to find an alternative method.
Here at Pearson Fuels, we like to emphasise the important role that coal plays in a variety of different industries. After all, the fossil fuel isn’t only used in power plants. With this said, our expertise as coal merchants lies with residential home use and that is why we stock a variety of home coal and smokeless alternatives for all your fireplace needs. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of the Pearson Fuels team today and ask about our bituminous coals!