LKAB’s ‘green’ DRI plant may come on line in 2011-2012


ULCOS – the programme of the European steel producers to develop new “Ultra Low” CO2 emitting steel-making processes seems to be gathering pace. Besides this project in Sweden, Corus has the HIsarna project in IJmuiden and ArcelorMittal is developing the TGR. There may be others as well? But all these projects will take many years to evaluate and ultimately also seem fairly dependent on the untried CCS. It would be useful to know the forecast impact on production costs, and the expected cut in CO2 emissions for each process.

SBB 23 Aug 2010 Swedish iron ore miner LKAB will take the final decision on building a test plant for its new low emissions DRI-making process, ULCORED, in Luleå early next year, a representative has told Steel Business Briefing.

The plant would take nine months to complete once the decision has been made, meaning it could be commissioned in late 2011 or early 2012. However, the company representative did not comment on funding.

The facility, part of the international Ultra Low-Carbon Steelmaking (ULCOS) project, will use natural gas and waste gases as the reducing agent rather than coke, eliminating the need for carbon dioxide-emitting coke ovens.

In addition, the remaining waste gas from the process would be very pure CO2 and therefore suitable for carbon capture and storage (CCS), SBB understands.

LKAB also said it is starting a new round of testing at its experimental Top-Gas Recycling (TGR) blast furnace in September. Pure oxygen is introduced to the blast furnace instead of air and waste carbon monoxide is fed back into the furnace. This allows emissions to be reduced and to be pure enough for CCS.

The results of the tests will be used as the basis for testing at ArcelorMittal’s upcoming TGR furnaces at Eissenhüttenstadt in Germany and Florange in France, LKAB added.

Corus is also hosting another ULCOS project, Hisarna, in IJmuiden, which could be commissioned in early January 2011, as previously reported.

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