The Process

The natural gas fueled direct reduction process is the modern and green alternative to coke-based blast furnaces

The facility converts pre-processed iron oxide pellets into highly metallized iron in the form of Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI). HBI is comparable to the highest quality scrap or pig iron and is therefore an excellent feed material for high quality steelmaking.

In contrast to coke-based blast furnaces, the direct reduction plant only uses natural gas as the reducing agent, which is much more environmentally friendly.

Direct Reduction – The cleanest and safest way of iron making

Most naturally occurring iron oxide has the composition of hematite (Fe2O3) and contains about 30% oxygen. The direct reduction process removes this bonded oxygen in the iron ore pellets at elevated temperatures by a reducing gas, which is produced from natural gas.

The reduction occurs in a sealed low-pressure reduction reactor, which is not vented to the atmosphere. The iron oxide pellets enter the reactor through the feed pipes, are reduced to metallic iron and are discharged from the furnace cone. Despite the high temperature of approx. 700 °C (1,300 °F), the product is not in a molten stage. This is another advantage over the traditional blast furnace route, since product handling is much safer and environmentally friendly. For easier transportation, the highly metallized iron is being briquetted into palm-sized, cushion-shaped HBI.

Neither the iron oxides nor the HBI is combustive, which makes the DRI technology not only the most environmentally friendly but also the safest way of iron making. The plant’s core technology and equipment will be supplied by US-based MIDREX Technologies Inc., which has formed a consortium with Siemens Industry Inc. MIDREX has been the leading innovator and technology supplier of iron ore direct reduction solutions for more than 40 years.

Your contact partner

Suriel Sibaja Garcia

Head of Process

T: +1/361/704-9000

F: +1/361/704-9090

E: technology.texas@voestalpine.com

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