Butler County-based steelmaker AK Steel will receive a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a new grade of steel to make electric motors more energy efficient.
Mark Johnson, director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office in the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said the goal is to “use our resources most effectively as possible. That means you need to develop new technologies.”
AK Steel was one of 13 recipients awarded a total of $25 million, including American Superconductor Corp., Purdue University and the University of Houston. All of them will be challenged to solve the need for a more efficient motor, Johnson said.
“We are pleased to be considered for this collaborative agreement to develop innovative grades of electrical steel for use in electric motors,” said Roger K. Newport, AK Steel Chief Executive Officer. “This work is consistent with our ongoing research and production of electrical steels for use in the electrical grid, and for other uses such as motors for hybrid and electric vehicles.”
Butler County Democratic Chair Jocelyn Bucaro, in a prepared statement, praised the Obama Administration for understanding how to partner with American manufacturers to “develop the next generation of products that lower energy costs for businesses and consumers and make American manufacturing strong and competitive globally.”
Johnson said Butler County has seen the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate itself reduced by over half as the number of people employed here has grown under the Obama Administration.
“This is great news for our region and the future of American manufacturing,” he said.
Energy for electric motors constitutes nearly a quarter of all U.S. electricity consumption, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Fortune 500 company AK Steel Holding Corp. is headquartered in West Chester Twp. Between operations in West Chester and the Middletown Works steel plant, AK Steel employs approximately 2,400 full-time workers in Butler County, making it the county’s third-largest employer. AK Steel facilities in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota employ more than 8,000 altogether and produce flat-rolled carbon, electrical and stainless steels used by the automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets.
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