U.P. Steel Inc was founded in 2002 by the two inventors of the technology, Dr. Jim Hwang and Dr. Scott Huang, and business owners Rick Kauppila, Dan Hintsala and Bob Saxwold. In 2009, Dan and Bob were replaced by Patti and Ron Schneider. Synco Energy Corp, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.P. Steel was formed in 2011 to promote the new technology.
U.P. Steel is a spin-off R&D firm from Michigan Technological University (MTU) with the mission of promoting the technology at pilot plant scale and early commercialization. U.P. Steel operates in several locations including a fully equipped pilot plant in Houghton, MI, a leased research laboratory in the SmartZone in Hancock, MI, and a business office in Negaunee, MI. The pilot plant hosts a 600 lb/hr microwave plasma rotary hearth furnace (MW/PA-RHF) and associated equipment for pig iron and syngas co-production. The 3200 ft2 pilot plant building was purchased in 2008 and includes two acres of land for expanded business and research needs.