Frequently Asked Questions

Who is voestalpine?

In its business segments, voestalpine is a globally leading technology and capital goods group with a unique combination of material and processing expertise. With its top-quality products and system solutions using steel and other metals, it is a leading partner to the automotive and consumer goods industries in Europe and to the aerospace, oil and gas industries worldwide. The voestalpine Group is also the world market leader in turnout technology, special rails, tool steel, and special sections.

Where does the name “voestalpine” come from?

The name of the company amalgamates its two principal components, the VÖEST (Vereinigte Österreichische Eisen und Stahlwerke – United Austrian Iron and Steel Works) in Upper Austria and the ÖAMG (Österreichische-Alpine Montangesellschaft) in Styria, established in 1881.

How do I pronounce "voestalpine"?


Is the direct reduction process a proven technology?

The direct reduction technology is a well-established and proven alternative to the coke based blast furnace route. Worldwide currently over 100 direct reduction modules are in operation. voestalpine’s technology provider of choice – US-based MIDREX Technologies Inc. – is the leading innovator and technology supplier for the direct reduction of iron ore and has been for more than 40 years. Each year, MIDREX plants produce about 60% of the world's direct reduced iron.

How many people are employed in the new facility?

The plant provides 220 permanent high-quality jobs.

Will there be an increase of truck traffic in San Patricio County?

Since the iron ore pellets and the HBI will be transported by ship and rail, there will be no noticeable increase of truck traffic in the neighboring communities.

Will the facility produce any hazardous by-products?

Natural gas and pre-treated iron oxide pellets are the only raw materials needed for producing HBI; hence no hazardous and/or toxic by-products will be produced.

Will the facility emit dust?

voestalpine applies best available emission control technology. All conveyors and transfer towers are enclosed and equipped with baghouse filters where necessary. In addition, voestalpine has opted for a fully enclosed building for storing iron oxide pellets in a completely sealed environment. Hence dust emissions will be well below the significant impact level. All transfer towers are equipped with baghouse filters. The collected dust is a valuable raw material and is hence be briquetted on site and recycled in the process.

What measures exist to maximize Process Safety?

voestalpine has implemented a highly sophisticated Process Safety Concept based both on the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the European Union’s Industrial Safety Regulations that includes the following:

  • Perform detailed engineering analyses regarding safety aspects that can be engineered into the system to limit risk such as:
    - HAZOP study
    - Emergency stop concept
    - Hazardous areas specification
    - Emergency power supply, fail-safe positions
    - Risk assessment
  • Residual risks, not able to be addressed above are documented in the operation/maintenance manual and further measures defined:
    - Use of personal protective equipment
    - Safety training site personnel
  • Detailed analysis concept for engineering documents such as:
    - P+ID´s, operation philosophy, automation concepts
    - Assembly drawings, mechanical arrangement
    - Use/integration of built in 3rd party equipment
    - Interfaces to consortial partners, sub suppliers, customers
  • Implementing an engineering management of change to ensure future changes to site will not reduce Process Safety

How much water does the facility use and where does it come from?

The Plant requires approximately 10 million gallons per day (MGD) of makeup water. The majority (approx. 80%) of the consumption is satisfied by baywater which is used solely for non-contact cooling in a heat exchanger loop with closed circuit cooling towers. The use of seawater from Corpus Christi Bay meets the cooling and process water needs while avoiding negative impacts to the scarce freshwater resources protected by the state water plan. The remainder is delivered as raw water by the San Patricio Municipal Water District (SPMWD). This process water is treated in the onsite process water treatment facility, which allows for approximately 97% to be recycled in the plant. Hence, voestalpine’s progressive water system saves approx. 80 % of freshwater compared to a traditional design.

Is there a contaminated discharge to the bay and will it adversely affect human health, fish and wildlife?

The water conservation initiatives described in the website align with voestalpine’s ambitious internal energy efficiency and environmental stewardship objectives, which include sustainable production processes, responsible conservation of resources, and the Best Available Control Technologies to limit contaminated discharges. In our permit from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, voestalpine designs both intake and discharge structures to meet and exceed categorical emissions limits and design aspects that are established to limit impacts to local flora and fauna. voestalpine believes that the TCEQ’s rules and permitting requirements are sufficient to protect human health and aquatic wildlife.

Will the facility lead to increased noise levels in neighboring communities?

Noise level (decibels) will attenuate to harmless levels before reaching known sensitive wildlife receptors. Noise will remain within the decibel noise ordinance requirements of our neighboring communities. Sounds generated during the start-up phase may be more noticeable than sounds generated during operations.

How can I request a sponsorship?

While we cannot support every request, we do try to include a range of groups and activities in our sponsorship program every year. To submit your request for sponsorship, please click here.

Your contact partner

Sandra Alvarez

Communications & Public Relations

T: +1 (361) 850 9966

E: salvarez@alvarezconsultants.com

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