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Finding new solutions to decarbonize the steelmaking value chain is a must for the industry to become fossil-free and to help limit global warming to 1.5°C. To support the efforts, Metso Outotec is introducing the next generation of its CircoredTM process for the direct reduction of iron ore fines. The game-changing process uses hydrogen as a reducing agent instead of CO produced from fossil fuels, allowing the iron and steel industry to efficiently tackle the decarbonization challenge. CircoredTM is part of Metso Outotec’s Planet Positive portfolio.

The flexible CircoredTM process produces highly metalized DRI (direct reduced iron) or HBI (hot briquetted iron) that can directly be used as feed material in electric arc furnaces for carbon-free steelmaking.

“We are very excited about the CircoredTM process. It is an emissions- and cost-efficient alternative to traditional steelmaking routes. This innovative process eliminates the need for costly and energy intensive pelletizing, and its functionality and performance have been proven in an industrial-scale demonstration plant. Now our team of experts has evolved the process further, and we will present the updated technology at the 2021 Dubai Steel & Raw Materials Hybrid Conference on December 8th. Additionally, during the first quarter of 2022, we will be revealing further ground-breaking additions to CircoredTM capabilities – the key word being low-grade ore – so please stay tuned for these exciting developments,” explains Attaul Ahmad, Vice President, Ferrous and Heat Transfer at Metso Outotec.

CircoredTM process is based on extensive knowledge

The CircoredTM process is based on the extensive fluidized bed knowledge and experience developed and applied by Metso Outotec over decades in hundreds of plants for different applications. The process applies a two-stage reactor configuration with a circulating fluidized bed (CFB) followed by a bubbling fluidized bed (FB) downstream. The typical plant capacity is 1.25 Mt/y per line. Two or more lines can be combined using joint facilities and utility areas. In stand-alone plants, the produced DRI is briquetted to HBI to enable further handling and safe transport.

If a CircoredTM plant is integrated into an existing steelmaking facility, energy efficiency can be further increased by direct hot feeding of the DRI to an electric arc furnace.

As a general rule, the CircoredTM process can handle feeds with a particle size of up to 2 mm. However, depending on the decrepitation behavior, particle sizes of up to 6 mm are possible. For processing ultrafine (< 50 µm) ores or process reverts like scrubber dust, Metso Outotec has patented a simple microgranulation process.

CircoredTM process benefits in brief

  • No fossil fuels required for reduction of fines, 100% hydrogen based
  • Energy-intensive and costly pelletizing step is eliminated
  • HBI or DRI can be fed directly to an electric arc furnace, improving energy efficiency
  • Proven performance in industrial-scale demonstration plant using established fluidized bed process