Environmentally friendly iron

Corus is to test a new iron-making technology in a pilot plant project at its IJmuiden steelworks in the Netherlands.

Called ‘Hisarna’, the technology has the potential to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide in the blast furnace steelmaking process by more than 50 per cent.

The €20m (£18m) project is one of the initiatives that has sprung up under the auspices of ULCOS (Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking), a consortium of European steelmakers that aims to reduce the steel industry’s carbon footprint.

On 27 November, the Dutch government approved a €5m contribution to the project. The rest of the investment will come from European Commission research funds and from the ULCOS consortium partners.

The 60,000tpa Hisarna pilot plant will harness a new process that makes it possible to produce liquid iron from virgin raw materials in just a single step, eliminating two of the three production steps currently required in blast furnace iron making.

Commissioning of the pilot plant is scheduled to begin at the end of 2010, after which an intensive test programme will be carried out supported by all the ULCOS partners.

Two technologies have been combined to develop Hisarna. The melting of fine ores in a cyclone has been developed by Corus in IJmuiden. This cyclone will be directly linked to the final process step in the HIsmelt process where the hot metal is formed.