IronArc revolutionises iron production – carbon dioxide emissions halved

ScanArc Plasma Technologies, on Wednesday 6 February, is presenting a new method for producing hot metal that halves CO2 emissions compared with the blast furnace process which is dominant at present. This highly efficient method of energy utilisation is based on plasma technology.

The method is to be publicly presented for the first time at the Metallurgists Meeting arranged by Jernkontoret (Swedish Steel Producers’ Association). This is a top conference within the industry, held at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH) on 5-6 February 2013.

The media are invited to attend the presentation “IronArc – Plasma based process for efficient hot metal production” with Sven Santén of ScanArc AB, at 10.30 h. on Wednesday, Brinellvägen 23, ground floor, Lecture Room B2.

A new method for producing hot metal has been developed by ScanArc Plasma Technologies in collaboration with the steel group Ovako at its Hofors plant. The method, called IronArc, lowers CO2 emissions by 50 % compared with blast furnace production. This is a two-stage reduction process where the high energy efficiency is achieved through a combination of heat energy supply via plasma generators and internal combustion of the process gases by way of a newly developed reactor concept.

“IronArc has every prospect of becoming a competitive alternative to the blast furnace, which is the clearly dominant iron production process at present,” says Gert Nilson, Technical Director at Jernkontoret. “Apart from the cut in CO2 emissions, the process has the environmental benefit of removing the need for coking and sintering plants, with the coking plants having the major environmental impact.”

When the iron oxide material undergoes direct smelting, during the first stage of the process, its physical properties during heating and reduction have no significance. This makes it possible to recover other metals also from the secondary products of the steel plants with significant environmental benefits as a result, since better recovery of by-products implies reduced need for virgin raw materials.

The IronArc method has been verified on a pilot scale at the ScanArc Plasma Technologies plant in Hofors. The next planned stage in the development work is a demonstration plant for production on a scale of 40 000 tonnes/year. The demonstration plant is primarily intended for the reprocessing of by-products such as oxide scales and grinding dust into new metallurgical raw material but it will also be used for testing iron extraction from different ores.

“This is an eagerly awaited technological breakthrough - the production of hot metal with reduced emissions of greenhouse gases,” underlines Bo-Erik Pers, the Chief Executive of Jernkontoret. “It is welcome proof that the Swedish steel industry retains its position on the front line, with constantly optimised process technology, highly advanced products and the provision of specialist services.”

The purpose of Jernkontoret’s Metallurgists Meeting is to offer an overview of ongoing metallurgical research as well as other issues that affect the steel industry. The meeting and the accompanying seminars offer great opportunities for contacts and the exchange of experiences with colleagues and participants from research institutes and the universities.

Maria Swartling, ScanArc Plasma Technologies, + 46 72-247 68 07

Sven Santén, ScanArc Plasma Technologies, + 46 70-208 55 70

Gert Nilson, Technical Director, Jernkontoret, + 46 70-253 01 14

Bo-Erik Pers, Chief Executive, Jernkontoret, + 46 706-38 20 22

Peter Salomon, Head of Information, Jernkontoret, + 46 708-24 01 46

About Us

Since its foundation back in 1747, Jernkontoret (The Swedish Steel Producers’ Association) has been owned jointly by the Swedish steel companies. Jernkontoret represents Sweden’s steel industry on issues that relate to trade policy, research and education, standardisation, energy and the environment as well as transportation issues. Jernkontoret also manages the joint Nordic research in the steel industry. In addition, Jernkontoret draws up statistical information relating to the industry and carries on research into the history of mining and metallurgy.