Carnegie Mellon University
January 18, 2017

Steelmaking: Then and Now

The blast furnaces used today in the United States are similar in form and function to those built about 260 years ago, but the energy efficiency is incomparably better. Through steady engineering improvements, the smelting process has become nearly 20 times more energy-efficient since the mid-1700s. The challenge now is to better understand how to use alternative fuel sources in order to continue to decrease the carbon intensity of blast-furnace ironmaking. “In ironmaking, there is an immovable baseline of energy that will always need to be supplied for the process to work. To make the process more energy-efficient, we are up against the laws of nature—a hard battle to win,” explains MSE’s P. Chris Pistorius. read more