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UoW, BlueScope announce $4.2 million to investigate ores in lower-carbon ESF steelmaking

Manufacturing News

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has shared details of a new project with industry partner BlueScope Steel for lower-emission steelmaking, which was announced on Wednesday morning as securing $2 million in funding through an Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) grant round.

According to a statement from the university, the project will investigate ways to utilise low and medium grade iron ores – which are abundant in the Pilbara region of Western Australia – in low emission steelmaking.

The viability of such ores in “a potential breakthrough, low-emissions, electric smelting furnace (ESF)-based steelmaking route” will be explored by a team co-led by Dr Xue Feng Dong and Dr Raymond Longbottom, and involving Professor Brian Monaghan and Dr  Paul Zulli.

The project, which has a total budget of $4.2 million, will compare performance and suitability of three types of Pilbara ore products – lump, fines and pellets – “for direct reduction and hot metal production through an electric smelting furnace using a combined high temperature experimental and computational modelling approach.”

“This project stands to revolutionise the steel industry and bring net-zero one step closer through assessing the way the country utilises all of its ores and helping establish future low emission steelmaking technology,” said project co-lead Dong.

“Over the next five years our team will collaborate with our industry partner to thoroughly investigate the long-term viability of utilising Australia’s Pilbara ores in the emerging ESF process, including identifying and addressing some future challenges and process constraints for low emission steel production.”

The funding for the UoW/BlueScope project was part of $59.1 million from ARENA across 21 research projects, covering renewable hydrogen and low emissions iron & steel categories.

Picture: Xue Feng Dong, Raymond Longbottom (supplied)

Further reading

ARENA awards $59.1 million to hydrogen, steel-related R&D projects

BlueScope, Rio, BHP to test low emission electric steel smelting

BlueScope to reline blast furnace, look at decarbonising options

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