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Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1188-1207; doi:10.3390/su5031188

Towards More Sustainable Ironmaking—An Analysis of Energy Wood Availability in Finland and the Economics of Charcoal Production

Laboratory of Process Metallurgy, University of Oulu, Oulu, PO BOX 4300, FI-90014, Finland
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Received: 5 February 2013 / Revised: 5 March 2013 / Accepted: 6 March 2013 / Published: 19 March 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decarbonised Economy)
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Abstract

Replacement of fossil carbon by renewable biomass-based carbon is an effective measure to mitigate CO2 emission intensity in the blast furnace ironmaking process. Depending on the substitution rate of fossil fuels, the required amount of biomass can be substantial. This raises questions about the availability of biomass for multiple uses. At the same time, the economic competitiveness of biomass-based fuels in ironmaking applications should also be a key consideration. In this assessment, availability of energy wood, i.e., logging residues, small-diameter wood and stumps, in Finland is discussed. Since biomass must be submitted to a thermochemical process before use in a blast furnace, the paper describes the production chain, from biomass to charcoal, and economics related to each processing step. The economics of biomass-based reducing agents is compared to fossil-based ones by taking into account the effect of European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The assessment reveals that there would be sufficient amounts of energy wood available for current users as well as for ironmaking. At present, the economics of biomass-based reducing agents in ironmaking applications is unfavorable. High CO2 emission allowance prices would be required to make such a scheme competitive against fossil-based reducing agents at current fuel prices.
Keywords: blast furnace; ironmaking; forest chips; reducing agent; charcoal; economics; CO2 emission allowance price blast furnace; ironmaking; forest chips; reducing agent; charcoal; economics; CO2 emission allowance price
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Suopajärvi, H.; Fabritius, T. Towards More Sustainable Ironmaking—An Analysis of Energy Wood Availability in Finland and the Economics of Charcoal Production. Sustainability 2013, 5, 1188-1207.

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