Direct reduced iron plant
|This article is part of the Global Steel Plant Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
Direct reduced iron (DRI), also called sponge iron, is produced from the direct reduction of iron ore (in the form of lumps, pellets, and/or fines) into iron with a sponge-like exterior, without melting.
The heart of the direct reduction is the shaft furnace, which is filled from the top with lump ore and pellets. DRI production turns iron ore into iron using gaseous reducing agents such as carbon monoxide (produced from natural gas or coal) or hydrogen (produced from natural gas, coal, or using an electrolyzer that relies on electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen). These gasses are used to dissolve the oxygen in the iron ores. This causes them to crack on the surface, resulting in highly ferrous iron ore with the resemblance of a sponge.
Since most of the energy used in this process comes from natural gasses, this reduces the need for coal and coke, but also reduces the associated emissions (sulfur oxides, carbon dioxide, etc.) into the atmosphere. This bypasses the blast furnace (BF) altogether. DRI is comparatively more energy efficient; steel made using DRI requires significantly less fuel, in that a traditional BF is not needed. Instead, DRIs are often used in accompaniment with the electric arc furnace (EAF) to make steel. The capital investment and operating costs of direct reduction plants are lower than integrated steel 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. India is the world’s largest producer of direct-reduced iron.
- Lump ore
- DRI (sponge iron)
- "Direct Reduced Iron (DRI)". www.metallics.org. International Iron Metallics Association. 2019-11-14. Retrieved 2021-07-12.CS1 maint: others (link)
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- "Direct-Reduced Iron - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". www.sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 2021-07-12.
- "2019 World Direct Reduction Statistics" (PDF). Midrex Technologies. 2019. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
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