Corus is to test a potentially ground-breaking new iron-making technology in a pilot plant project at its IJmuiden steelworks in the Netherlands.
Called “Hisarna”, the technology has the potential to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide in the blast furnace steelmaking route by more than 50%.
The €20 million project is one of the initiatives that has sprung up under the auspices of ULCOS (Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking), a consortium of European steelmakers that has drawn up the world’s most advanced programme to reduce the steel industry’s carbon footprint.
The Dutch Cabinet of Ministers approved on November 27 a €5 million contribution to the project. The rest of the investment will come from European Commission research funds and from the ULCOS consortium partners.
The 60,000 tpa Hisarna pilot plant will harness a new process that makes possible the production of liquid iron from virgin raw materials in just a single step, eliminating two of the three production steps required in blast furnace iron making. Hisarna opens the prospect of a 20% improvement in steel industry energy efficiency. Commissioning of the pilot plant is foreseen at the end of 2010, after which an intensive test programme will be carried out, supported by all ULCOS partners.
Two technologies have been combined to develop Hisarna. The melting of fine ores in a cyclone has been developed by Corus in IJmuiden. This cyclone will be directly linked to the final process step where the hot metal is formed, this second step is the HIsmelt process.
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Corus is Europe's second largest steel producer. With main steelmaking operations primarily in the UK and the Netherlands, Corus supplies steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, mechanical engineering and other markets worldwide. Corus is a subsidiary of Tata Steel, one of the world’s top ten steel producers. The combined enterprise has an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.