Jens Spahn meets Swiss Steel Group CEO Frank Koch
Jens Spahn, deputy chair of the CDU and member of the German government’s economic affairs committee, visited Swiss Steel Group / Deutsche Edelstahlwerke in Witten to learn more about the current situation in the electrical steel industry
The energy situation in Germany is becoming more and more critical, and prices for gas and electricity continue to rise. New relief packages are constantly being discussed – for consumers. What this means for industry, specifically key industries like the steel industry, is only discussed at best in passing.
Jens Spahn, a member of the Deutscher Bundestag’s working group on economic affairs, sees things differently. He got an idea of the overall situation last Friday, August 19, 2022, during an informative meeting with Frank Koch, CEO of Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW) part of Swiss Steel Group in Witten. Among other things, Frank Koch once again impressively explained that the technology used by Swiss Steel Group, the electric arc furnace process, produces steel that is much more environmentally friendly than steel produced in the conventional blast furnace. “The electrical steel industry is the fast track for decarbonization of the steel industry,” Frank Koch said at the meeting. The savings on CO2 emissions today is already 78% in relation to the global average of the steel industry. Yet the technology needs energy, preferably green energy to be able to produce green steel. Specifically in this segment, Swiss Steel Group and DEW in Witten and their other locations in Germany, France, Canada, Switzerland and the USA are the industry leader. The company is also one of the principal recycling companies, using exclusively recycled scrap as the raw material to produce around 2.0 million tons of steel per year, which has a major impact on the CO2 footprint.
Frank Koch asked Mr. Spahn to advocate for a secure energy supply at affordable prices and to guarantee the equal treatment of environmentally friendly electrical steel production in the distribution of subsidies. From January 2021 to January 2022, the prices on the natural gas spot market rose by 300%. The situation is no better for electricity. Electrical steel producers are doing everything in their power to lower energy consumption, specifically their use of natural gas. Research and development projects are currently underway in the DEW plants, but require major investments.
Jens Spahn was visibly impressed by the successes of the less well-known electrical steel production in regard to decarbonization. Overall, it accounts for only 3-4% of the total emissions of the German steel industry, but has a 30% market share of all steel delivered in Germany alone.
“We need relief this fall, also for industry, to be able to absorb the challenges associated with the supply of energy once winter sets in. The German government must therefore make decisions as soon as possible. We cannot afford to continue to wait,” said Jens Spahn on the occasion of the meeting with CEO Frank Koch at the Witten plants of Swiss Steel Group / DEW. He also emphasized that “research and development need intensive support scheme to be able to shake off the one-sided dependencies on energy sources as soon as possible.”
CEO Frank Koch thanked his guest and before saying good-bye stated: “It is good to know that that there are people also in important positions in politics who are truly interested in knowing what’s going on.” After all, the value add chain for steel extends from surgical needle to artificial hip to car door, from replacement parts for medical equipment to the tubing used in pipelines.
About Swiss Steel Group
The Swiss Steel Group today is one of the world’s leading providers of individual solutions in the special long steel products sector. The Group is one of the leading manufacturers of tool steel and non-corrosive long steel on the global market and one of the largest companies in Europe for alloyed and high-alloyed constructional steel. With close to 10,000 employees and in-house production and distribution companies in over 30 countries and on 5 continents, the company guarantees its customers a global supply and customer service, and offers them a complete production portfolio as well as sales and services around the world. They benefit from the company’s technological expertise, the consistently high product quality around the world and detailed knowledge of local markets.
Vice President Corporate Marketing and Communications
Swiss Steel Group
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Photo credit: Swiss Steel Holding AG
From left to right: Jürgen Alex, Executive Board Member Tool Steel Division, Jens Spahn, deputy chair of the CDU, Frank Koch, CEO Swiss Steel Holding AG
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