U. S. Steel Battery-Powered Locomotives Receive “Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence” from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

3 May 2024

United States Steel Corporation  received the “Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence” from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for converting two of its diesel locomotives to battery power. The locomotives are located at the Mon Valley Works’ Edgar Thomson and Clairton Plants where they are used for carrying steel, coke, scrap metal, iron ore, and other materials necessary for production. The switch to battery-powered locomotives is expected to reduce airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions at the facilities by .385 tons - the equivalent emissions of 7,000 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles. It will also reduce the amount of diesel fuel consumed by 40,000 gallons annually and demonstrate the company’s use of emerging technology to help reach the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The locomotives were built by Innovative Rail Technologies, a provider of customized lithium-ion propulsion solutions to the locomotive rail market. U. S. Steel invested more than $2.3 million in the locomotives while the remaining cost was offset through a partnership with the DEP.

“The successful conversion of U. S. Steel’s locomotives to battery power shows that public-private partnerships can be the catalyst for finding innovative solutions that drive environmental excellence,” said DEP Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley. “Projects like this will pave the way toward a more sustainable future for Pennsylvania.”

"We are a pioneer in the use of this technology, and we appreciate this recognition from the Governor, as we are among the first industrial sites to deploy battery-powered locomotives to reduce emissions,” said Mark Jeffrey, U. S. Steel Mon Valley Works – Clairton Plant Manager. “We will continue to leverage innovation and emerging technology to keep our commitment to the environment and to making products that are mined, melted, and made in America.”

U. S. Steel utilized the DEP’s Driving PA Forward - Marine and Rail Freight Movers Grant Program to offset the cost of the new battery-operated locomotives. The Driving PA Forward initiative improves air quality in Pennsylvania through the transformation of older diesel engines to cleaner technologies, helping the state meet its diesel emissions reduction goals.

U. S. Steel unveiled the first locomotive to employees, members of the community, media, and elected officials at an event on October 30, 2023, at the Mon Valley Works - Clairton Plant. The second locomotive arrived at the Mon Valley Works - Edgar Thomson facility on April 23. One week later, U. S. Steel accepted the “Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence” at an event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, an honor that recognized their battery-powered locomotives as one of 22 projects showcasing innovation that promotes sustainability and has a positive environmental and economic impact.