Pellets and tidal power to save UK steel industry /2016-04-07 / Lennart Ljungblom

Pellets and tidal power to save UK steel industry

Sanjeev Gupta, chairman of Liberty House Group is convinced there’s still a profitable life ahead for Britain’s nearly bankrupt steel industry, and he’s planning to use wood pellets and sea tides to save it according to  His plan involves rewriting the economics of the business by acquiring distressed assets, using scrap metal instead of iron ore, and getting some government help.

The key is cheaper electricity. In 2013, Liberty acquired a shuttered mill in Newport, Wales, and then bought an aging power plant nearby. Gupta wants government help to convert the coal-fired generator to run on wood pellets and is investing in a venture to use the tides in Swansea Bay to make electricity.

Gupta, says reviving the Welsh mill would allow him to supply as much as 20 percent of U.K. steel demand. And he’s already considering expanding. Liberty is in talks to acquire some mills from Tata Steel Ltd., which would also be converted to make steel from recycled scrap rather than iron ore.

He needs the cheaper electricity to operate an arc furnace he plans to install at the mill. The forge will enable Liberty to make its own steel by melting some of the 9.5 million metric tons of scrap the U.K. produces every year, he said. The mill, according to the article, currently processes steel that’s being turned into hot-rolled coil for parts used in Jaguar cars to Boeing Co. planes. /2016-04-07 / Lennart Ljungblom