PITA Fiscal Year 2007 Projects

Product and Process Design and Optimization

Advanced Energy Efficient Ironmaking
Ironmaking represents over 75% of the energy consumption and is the most capital intensive process in steelmaking. The current blast furnace must also be very large (3-5 million tons per year) to be economical which is too large for electric arc furnace producers producing high quality steel. A new process is being investigated which uses composite pellets of ore-coal or ore-wood charcoal in a rotary hearth furnace and a direct smelter. By optimization of these processes together with preliminary estimates indicate energy can be reduced by over 20%, capital costs reduced and will be economical on a small scale.

The research includes fundamentals of reduction of composite pellets and modeling of the smelting process. An RHF simulator has been built with radiant heat transfer to the top surface of the pellets, as in an RHF, and a mass spectrometer to measure the off gas and rate of reduction. The process requires complex engineering in that the individual unit processes are complex including kinetics, heat generation and heat transfer. Also, the combination process must be optimized and linked efficiently.