Direct reduced iron plant

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the
Global Steel Plant Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.
Download full dataset
Report an error

The Direct Reduced Iron plant is a furnace that produces Direct Reduced Iron (DRI), also referred to as sponge iron due to its porous nature. The process can also produce Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI). The iron can then be used to produce steel via other production routes, such as the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF). The process uses iron ore (in the form of lumps, pellets, or fines) as raw material input, gasses such as carbon monoxide (produced from natural gas or coal), or hydrogen (produced from natural gas, coal, or using an electrolyzer) as reducing agents, and creates sponge iron as output.

Direct Reduced Iron is produced through the direct reduction of iron ore. This process removes oxygen from the iron ore, to convert it into metallic iron in the solid state (i.e., without needing to melt it).[1] There are several processes for the direct reduction, such as gas-based shaft furnace processes, gas-based fluidized bed processes, and the use of coal based rotary kiln furnaces.

After the furnace is filled with iron ore, the reducing agents are used to dissolve the oxygen in the iron ore, creating pellets or briquettes with 90-97% iron content.[2]

Source: DRI Process, Tec-Science, 2021

As much of the energy used during DRI is gas, which has less carbon dioxide emissions than the coal used in Blast Furnaces (BF), the emissions associated with this type of iron production are significantly lower. While most DRI is used in EAFs, HBI can also be used in Blast Furnaces, reducing the consumption of reducing agents like the coal-based coke.[3] DRI is also relatively energy efficient, requiring less fuel than needed in a Blast Furnace. The capital investment and operating costs of direct reduction plants, too, are lower than integrated steel plants (i.e., BF-BOF plants) and are more suitable for developing countries where supplies of high grade coking coal are limited, but where steel scrap is generally available for recycling.

Emissions from a DRI plant depend on the reducing agents and electricity used for the process and running of the facility. However, it is a pathway with high potential for low-emissions iron production.


  1. "DRI production | International Iron Metallics Association". Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  2. "AIST Steel Wheel". Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  3. "Direct-reduced iron becomes steel decarbonization winner". S&P Global. June 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links

This page uses material from the Wikipedia page direct reduced iron under the provisions of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Abeckford21 (talk) 18:33, 12 July 2021 (UTC)