Tata Steel has introduced an environment-friendly steel production technology known as HIsarna. This technology is being tested at Tata Steel’s Ijmuiden site in the Netherlands. The current HIsarna pilot plant can produce around 60,000 tonnes of liquid iron annually.
The HIsarna method is an iron manufacturing process in which liquid iron is directly produced by reduction of iron ore fines with coal. This process is more efficient and sustainable as compared to conventional iron making processes. It can improve 20% energy efficiency and also reduce 20% carbon emissions during the production of steel. It also reduces 60%-80% discharges of fine particles, sulphur dioxides and nitrogen oxide.
Tata Steel claims that HIsarna is going to be technology revolution in the next decade and its impact is expected to be huge just like the introduction of continuous casting technology a century ago. Tata Steel is now designing a full industrial scale HIsarna plant with an annual capacity of 1.6 million tonnes of liquid steel. This plant is expected to start its operation by 2026.
Under the Paris Accord, the member governments are implementing environmental protection policies. In this regard, EU has a target to reduce 90% carbon emissions compared to the 1990 level by 2025. The EU is supporting innovation in steel manufacturing to make it environmentally friendly. For the development of HIsarna, €5 million was spent, whereas Tata’s partner companies invested 60% while the remaining 40% was funded by the EU, Economic Ministry of Dutch and European research fund for Coal and Steel.
HIsarna technology is based on the principles of bath smelting, where partial pyrolysis of preheated coal and iron ore is performed in a reactor, followed by the melting and reduction of iron ore in smelter vessels. This process significantly reduces the coal consumption and results in less carbon emissions.
HIsarna method also provides flexibility in term of hydrocarbon consumption and permits the fractional switch between coal, biomass and natural gas. The method eliminates many pre-processing steps and allows less rigid condition for the iron ore and coal quality. A complete production stage can be phased out in this process which includes coking, sinter and pellets plants. An additional advantage of HIsarna is the collection of 100% pure carbon dioxide and storage without expensive purifying process.
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