Steel is one of the most important materials in our day-to-day lives. Whether buildings or households, whether industry or mobility: No sphere of life is conceivable without steel. Rising standards of living in many emerging economies go hand in hand with the continual increase in the consumption of steel. Yet the protection of both the climate and the environment call for a new view of raw materials. On the one hand, steel’s footprint is good, because the possibilities for recycling it are almost unlimited. On the other hand, the production and processing of steel require lots of resources and energy. The research & development departments of technology groups such as voestalpine face major challenges against the backdrop of the envisioned decarbonization of the economy.
Even in terms of its applications, steel can contribute to a sustainable way of life, thanks especially to the opportunities that lightweight construction offers. For example, ultra-high strength steel possessing higher degrees of malleability is used in lightweight automotive construction. The reductions in the weight of autobodies lower both fuel consumption and emissions. Low-loss electrical steel strip as well as inline-bonded lamination stacks are built into highly efficient electric engines, thus making an important contribution to electric mobility. Lifecycle-optimized turnouts equipped with diagnostic and assistance systems as well as tracks made of wear-resistant steel grades enable both high availability of a given rail infrastructure and the highest degree of passenger safety.
Special steels boost the efficiency of conventional power plants. Steel also plays a major role in the generation of electricity from renewable sources, for example, in wind turbines. In the toolmaking industry, high-performance steel equipped with special coatings ensures longer useful lives and lower maintenance expenditures.