Steel in the energy sector

Steel is an indispensable material for the generation and transmission of electricity to homes and businesses. Every power plant contains large quantities of steel, and often very specialised steels. Examples include nuclear containment vessels, the turbines in hydro-electric dams and gas-fired facilities, and the extensive structures and equipment used by wind and photovoltaic installations. And the same is true for energy transmission where steel is used in the cores of transmission cables strung across the countryside and our cities and which have to survive and operate in often extreme environments. Likewise, steel plays a vital role in energy resource transportation, from oil and gas rigs to the many thousands of kilometres of pipeline needed to transport liquids and gases, again under extreme conditions.

Recent activities

  • ESTEP's Energy Working Group collaborates with partners in the energy sector to investigate how R&D can help provide new steels that offer better and safer solutions in the energy field. For example, in 2011 ESTEP held a joint 'Steel for Wind Energy' workshop with players from the wind-power sector – including the Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWIND). As the fastest growing segment of the renewable energy sector, the wind-power industry is facing growing technical challenges: higher and larger turbines to improve performance and materials that can survive in offshore marine environments.
  • In the MACPLUS project , ESTEP members are helping to improving the net efficiency of coal-fired power plants by increasing the long-term affordability of cutting-edge components such as superheaters and pipework. ESTEP is also working with the MATHRYCE project which is targeting hydrogen -storage technologies for fuel cells and hydrogen power systems – an area where steel containment vessels and pipes are a must.

Read more on the SET-Plan

See the TPWind website

For more information on Working Group 6-Energy: see the latest Activity Report

Last updated on: 2012-06-27