Tata Steel has implemented the new technology at its Ijmuiden site in the Netherlands. Called HIsarna, the technology injects iron ore at the top of a reactor. The ore is then liquefied in a high-temperature cyclone and drips to the bottom where powder coal is injected.

According to Tata Steel, the technology removes numerous energy-intensive steps – including having to pre-process the ore and coal in separate coke, sinter or pellet factories. Test campaigns were conducted using steel scrap and biomass and created carbon reductions of more than 50%.

Tata Steel’s chief executive of European operations, Hans Fischer, said: “HIsarna’s results show we can make a significant contribution to improving the sustainability of steel production with this Tata Steel technology.

“The development of this technology forges our ambition to become a steel company which is sustainable in all respects.”

The HIsarna plant will now become a permanent feature of the production chain at the IJmuiden site. Tata Steel is also designing an industrial scale version of the technology, capable of making up to 20 times more liquid iron. The new plant could be operational in seven years’ time.

The technology could provide a breakthrough for the industry. Tata Steel is a member of Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking (ULCOS) a partnership of 48 European organisations that have committed to reducing CO2 emissions of steel production by 50% by 2050.

Steely disposition

The steel industry accounts for around 7% of global emissions, and companies within the sector have been seeking ways to lower their environmental impact. The sector, at least in the UK, has also been plagued by cheap foreign imports and legislation that has left some companies struggling to stay afloat. edie previously investigated four potential green solutions for the struggling steel industry.

Another innovative green solution for the steel industry to consider could be found in Sweden, where energy company Vattenfall teamed up with manufacturers SSAB and LKAB to create a steel production process that emits water rather than carbon dioxide.

By combining fossil-free electricity with coke plants and blast furnaces, Vattenfall believes it can produce steel that only emits water as a result. The project, set to be developed over the next 25 years, will require major contributions from the state, research institutions and universities.

Matt Mace

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