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Improved ore refining methods (DRI)


Technology Description

The direct reduced iron (DRI) process offers one potential pathway to zero-emission steelmaking, as it can use low-emission hydrogen as a reducing agent compared to other methods which are reliant on metallurgical coal. The DRI is then charged into an electric arc furnace (EAF) to turn it into steel. One problem with the pathway of DRI with an electric arc furnace, however, is that it relies on higher quality iron ore, with an iron content of at least 67%. Overall iron ore quality has been in decline for 20 years with iron content dropping and the level of impurities rising.
Several solutions to this problem have emerged. These include:
-Using a submerged arc furnace (SAF) melting stage after DRI production before sending it to a basic oxygen furnace
-Developing methods of producing direct reduced iron using lower quality ore
-Reducing iron through hydrogen-based fluidised bed reduction - a method that has demonstrated effectiveness in dealing with lower grade iron ore, and which does not require pelletisation.
(See also entries for Direct reduced iron - Improved ore refining methods and Direct reduced iron based on 100% electrolytic hydrogen)

Relevance for Net Zero

Required for wide-scale DRI.

Key Countries

United States, Korea, Italy, France, Germany

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