The direct reduction plant being constructed in Texas is slowly taking shape and will soon be a new point of reference on the Portland skyline, near Corpus Christi.
From 2016 onwards the new direct reduction plant belonging to voestalpine Texas LLC will produce hot briquetted iron (HBI) to supply the Austrian sites in Linz and Donawitz. Preliminary contracts have already been agreed for most of the remaining quantities of HBI.
The voestalpine Texas LLC direction reduction plant is the first investment in the USA for the Steel Division, and is simultaneously the largest foreign investment in the history of the voestalpine Group.
The dimensions of the new HBI plant
At 137 m when complete, the reduction tower will not only be a new ‘landmark’ at the site, it also mirrors the height of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna which, at 137 m, is Austria’s tallest ecclesiastical building. The tower of Linz’s New Cathedral is 134 m in height, making it a little lower than the reduction tower in Texas.
With an overall volume of 64,000 m³, the tower, warehouse and lading port are built on solid foundations. If the concrete were brought to the construction site in standard Austrian concrete mixer trucks, then they would form a tailback over 82.2 km in length; this is the distance from Linz to Attersee.
Built of steel
A total of 16,000 tons of reinforcing steel are being used in construction. In comparison, the Eifel Tower in Paris weighs ‘only’ 10,000 tons.
The pellet storage area, which functions as buffer or temporary storage prior to loading onto the ships, corresponds to an area the size of around 5 football fields (600 x 60 m).
By the time construction is complete at the start of 2016, an incredible 290,000 m³ of earth will have been moved. This volume of earth would fill around 97 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
On the way to the top
As noted above, the redaction tower will match Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral in height. However, it needs a 160 m tall crane to transport the required construction materials to the top. It took a special company over 2 months and 3 extra cranes just to build the construction crane – one of the largest cranes in the USA.
The route to Linz
The deep sea freighters which will bring the HBI to Europe and raw materials to Texas are customized to meet voestalpine requirements. At 280 m in length and with a capacity of 110,000 tons (equal to that of 50,000 cars), the cargo ships are dimensioned so that they support the complicated logistics processes at the new HBI plant.