A platform for the future
The European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP) brings together all the major stakeholders in the European steel industry. Our membership includes major steel manufacturers; universities and research institutions active in steel research; major users of steel such as car manufacturers; and public bodies like the European Commission and national governments – which have great interest in this vital industrial sector that is so important for Europe's future.
Creating growth and jobs
The European steel industry is a key contributor to economic growth and employment in Europe and a global leader in steel technology. It generates around EUR 200 billion in turnover and provides jobs to over 350 000 Europeans. It is also the source of millions of additional jobs in other industrial sectors that use steel – such as car manufacturing and construction. This is why it is so important to ensure that ESTEP's members maintain their global leadership and consistently improve their competitiveness.
Forging a vision
ESTEP's ambition is to maintain and reinforce the global leadership of the EU steel industry. This means using research and innovation to develop new products and processes that will foster competitiveness while meeting both growth and environmental targets. To achieve this ambition, ESTEP has launched a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that sets out what must be done over the coming decades. The SRA proposes three large and complementary industrial programmes that are now being implemented by ESTEP's working groups.
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ESTEP's activities are channelled into three industrial programmes which promote research, development and innovation to support a European steel industry that is more sustainable, more profitable and more competitive. The three programmes concern:
To take these programmes forward ESTEP experts come together in working groups – each dealing with a different thematic aspect of the steel industry – to advance R&D, innovation and breakthrough technological solutions.
In the theme '
Profit through innovation
' ESTEP is boosting research into new technologies for the production, processing and use of steel, such as innovative solutions for energy-efficient processing, and more flexible production chains.
', ESTEP is coordinating R&D solutions for sustainable steel that reduce the environmental impact of the whole steel sector by developing cleaner and greener technologies.
' theme is securing the highly-skilled staff the industry needs, as well as improving health and safety at work for European steel workers.
In the '
' theme better steel-based technologies for the transport sector are highlighted – in particular for the automotive industry which is a major partner in ESTEP's work, in particular in the 'Green Car initiative'.
' ESTEP is reinforcing research and innovation into the critical role that steel plays in creating better buildings and infrastructure for the future.
And in the '
' field the ESTEP working group is promoting new steel-based applications for generating and transporting energy in all its forms, including solutions for renewable energy technologies.
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Steel matters to people
Steel is one of the most attractive, most robust and most sustainable materials in the world. Thousands of different types of steel facilitate and improve our daily life in innumerable applications. It plays a vital role in lighting and warming our homes – electricity generation plant relies on steel components, for example for turbines and high -voltage transmission lines; and steel pipelines bring gas and oil from the seabed to fuel our cars and heat offices and houses. And steel sets trends in lifestyle: it is the material of design and innovation in many aspects of our life. It determines the types of cars we can drive and the size and safety of the houses we live in; it contributes to better medical devices for ensuring our health, as well as a whole range of household appliances that make our lives easier and safer. Even if an industrial or consumer product does not contain any steel, it was almost certainly made by tools and machines that do.
Steel matters to our economy
The European steel industry is a world leader in its sector with a turnover of about EUR 200 billion and direct employment of about 350 thousand highly- skilled people, producing some 200 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites in 23 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment and a living for millions of European citizens. Furthermore, a vibrant home-grown EU steel industry is a vital resource for European manufacturing and processing sectors at a time when industrial value chains are striving for closer integration as a means to boost competitiveness.
Steel matters to industry
Steel is prized for its flexibility which comes from its strength and corrosion resistance. Strength enables engineers to construct higher and safer buildings where earthquakes occur, and longer bridges to improve our road and rail systems; it allows car designers to building lighter, safer and more energy-efficient cars as less material is needed; and the strength of steel is vital in power generation, whether using fossil fuels or renewable energy sources – for example, 70 % of a wind turbine is made of steel. Steel also allows engineers to build smaller – without steel, wristwatches would be rarer and costlier. High corrosion resistance makes steel the material of choice for 'outdoor' applications: for ships that carry trade on our oceans; for communications satellites that must survive micro-meteorite impacts and solar radiation; and for gas pipelines crossing deserts and arctic wastes. For industrial applications, steel is truly a universal solution against which others are measured.
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