Next Generation Metallic Iron Nodule Technology in Electric Arc Steelmaking - Phase II

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The current trend in the steel industry is a gradual decline in conventional steelmaking from taconite pellets in blast furnaces, and an increasing number of alternative processes using metallic scrap iron, pig iron and metallized iron ore products. Currently, iron ores from Minnesota and Michigan are pelletized and shipped to the lower Great Lakes ports as blast furnace feed. The existing transportation system and infrastructure is geared to handling these bulk materials. In order to expand the opportunities for the existing iron ore mines beyond their blast furnace customer base, a new material is needed to satisfy the needs of ... continued below

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Fosnacht, Donald R.; Iwasaki, Iwao; Kiesel, Richard F.; Englund, David J.; Hendrickson, David W. & Bleifuss, Rodney L. December 22, 2010.

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Description

The current trend in the steel industry is a gradual decline in conventional steelmaking from taconite pellets in blast furnaces, and an increasing number of alternative processes using metallic scrap iron, pig iron and metallized iron ore products. Currently, iron ores from Minnesota and Michigan are pelletized and shipped to the lower Great Lakes ports as blast furnace feed. The existing transportation system and infrastructure is geared to handling these bulk materials. In order to expand the opportunities for the existing iron ore mines beyond their blast furnace customer base, a new material is needed to satisfy the needs of the emerging steel industry while utilizing the existing infrastructure and materials handling. A recent commercial installation employing Kobe Steel’s ITmk3 process, was installed in Northeastern Minnesota. The basic process uses a moving hearth furnace to directly reduce iron oxides to metallic iron from a mixture of iron ore, coals and additives. The resulting products can be shipped using the existing infrastructure for use in various steelmaking processes. The technology reportedly saves energy by 30% over the current integrated steelmaking process and reduces emissions by more than 40%. A similar large-scale pilot plant campaign is also currently in progress using JFE Steel’s Hi-QIP process in Japan. The objective of this proposal is to build upon and improve the technology demonstrated by Kobe Steel and JFE, by further reducing cost, improving quality and creating added incentive for commercial development. This project expands previous research conducted at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute and that reported by Kobe and JFE Steel. Three major issues have been identified and are addressed in this project for producing high-quality nodular reduced iron (NRI) at low cost: (1) reduce the processing temperature, (2) control the furnace gas atmosphere over the NRI, and (3) effectively use sub-bituminous coal as a reductant. From over 4000 laboratory tube and box furnace tests, it was established that the correct combination of additives, fluxes, and reductant while controlling the concentration of CO and CO2 in the furnace atmosphere (a) lowers the operating temperature, (b) decreases the use of reductant coal (c) generates less micro nodules of iron, and (d) promotes desulphurization. The laboratory scale work was subsequently verified on 12.2 m (40 ft) long pilot scale furnace. High quality NRI could be produced on a routine basis using the pilot furnace facility with energy provided from oxy-gas or oxy-coal burner technologies. Specific strategies were developed to allow the use of sub-bituminous coals both as a hearth material and as part of the reaction mixture. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling was used to study the overall carbothermic reduction and smelting process. The movement of the furnace gas on a pilot hearth furnace and larger simulated furnaces and various means of controlling the gas atmosphere were evaluated. Various atmosphere control methods were identified and tested during the course of the investigation. Based on the results, the appropriate modifications to the furnace were made and tested at the pilot scale. A series of reduction and smelting tests were conducted to verify the utility of the processing conditions. During this phase, the overall energy use characteristics, raw materials, alternative fuels, and the overall economics predicted for full scale implementation were analyzed. The results indicate that it should be possible to lower reaction temperatures while simultaneously producing low sulfur, high carbon NRI if the right mix chemistry and atmosphere are employed. Recommendations for moving the technology to the next stage of commercialization are presented.

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  • Report No.: DOE/05GO15185-1
  • Grant Number: FG36-05GO15185
  • DOI: 10.2172/1000412 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1000412
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc830849

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  • December 22, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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Fosnacht, Donald R.; Iwasaki, Iwao; Kiesel, Richard F.; Englund, David J.; Hendrickson, David W. & Bleifuss, Rodney L. Next Generation Metallic Iron Nodule Technology in Electric Arc Steelmaking - Phase II, report, December 22, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc830849/: accessed November 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.