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Within Hybrit, the supply of coal is intended to take place via products that contain carbon, based on biomass, in order to achieve a fossil-free steel production. Photo: Mostphotos View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Hydrogen-based iron ore reduction

Published: 9 October 2020

Here, the problem of directly reducing iron ore to metallic iron with hydrogen gas is investigated, by studying the effect of the composition of the ore pellets, prevailing process mechanisms and how the entire process chain can be optimized.

Fossil-free steel production requires a supply of carbon to obtain an efficient melting of the hydrogen-reduced iron. The supply of carbon lowers the melting point of iron and can in several ways help to reduce energy consumption during melting in an arc furnace (EAF).

Carbon based on biomass

In traditional blast furnace-based iron production, carburization of the iron is obtained through the large amount of carbon present in the entire process. Within Hybrit, the supply of coal is intended to take place via carbon-containing products based on biomass in order to be able to achieve a completely fossil-free steel production. How this carbon is to be supplied is still an open question. In practice, the carbon supply can take place both in the electric arc furnace and in connection with the reduction using hydrogen. Several different alternatives are being investigated within Hybrit, where researchers at Luleå University of Technology participate in collaboration with LKAB. As the results are currently being evaluated and have not been published scientifically yet, no further details can be given about the research at the moment.

Bildtext: Within Hybrit, the supply of coal is intended to take place via products that contain bio-based carbon, in order to achieve a fossil-free steel production.

How is the price of forest biomass affected?

Within this work package, researchers in Energy Engineering and Economics at Luleå University of Technology also carry out a systems analysis and develop models to be able to predict future raw material supply and prices of forest biomass for steel production within Hybrit. Different scenarios for demand based on the need for biogenic carbon for iron and steel production, and the need for renewable fuels for LKAB's pellet plant (see above) are analyzed.

The researchers also investigate the possibility for Hybrit to use other assortments of forest raw materials, such as logs, stumps, bark and branches and tops, depending on the cost picture.

Bo Björkman

Bo Björkman, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 491292
Organisation: Process Metallurgy, Minerals and Metallurgical Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Elisabeth Wetterlund

Elisabeth Wetterlund, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 491056
Organisation: Energy Engineering, Energy Science, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics
Robert Lundmark

Robert Lundmark, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 492346
Organisation: Economics, Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts