Tata Steel and Rio sign agreement over Hisarna smelting


Breathrough low CO2 stelmaking technologies will be essential if the industry is to significantly lower its emissions. But these technologies could also be commercial ventures. Some, such as HIsarna, could also reduce initial investments, land use and raw materials costs. Tata Steel and Rio Tinto hope that they can market the technology if trials are successful.

SBB 25 April Tata Steel and Rio Tinto have signed a licensing agreement over Hisarna, the direct iron smelting process being trialled at IJmuiden in the Netherlands. This will decide how the companies will benefit from selling the technology, Steel Business Briefing understands.

In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the technology could potentially reduce costs. Hisarna, developed as part of the European Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking (ULCOS) programme, can produce hot metal from iron ore fines using thermal coal or charcoal. It therefore eliminates the need for coking and sintering and has lower raw material costs.

Under the agreement both parties will collaborate and share their knowledge over the two technologies combined in the process: cyclone pre-reduction and bath smelting. Rio Tinto recently abandoned its 800,000 t/y HIsmelt plant in Australia, which never reached full capacity because of technical difficulties, SBB notes.

The current HIsarna pilot smelter can produce 60,000 tonnes/year, though ULCOS intends to scale this up in the longer-term, SBB notes.

In future Hisarna could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 50% when combined with carbon capture and storage, according to a press release issued by Tata Steel.

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