Replacing carbon by hydrogen is a huge step towards reducing CO2
emissions in the iron- and steel-making industry. The reduction of iron oxides using hydrogen plasma smelting reduction as an alternative to conventional steel-making routes has been studied at Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Austria. The aim of this work was to study the slag formation during the reduction process and the reduction behaviour of iron oxides. Furthermore the reduction behaviour of iron ore during continuous feeding was assessed. Mixtures of iron ore and calcined lime with a basicity of 0, 0.8, 1.6, 2.3, and 2.9 were melted and reduced by hydrogen. The off-gas composition was measured during the operations to calculate the process parameters. The reduction parameters, namely the degree of reduction, degree of hydrogen utilisation, produced iron, and slag, are presented. The results of the batch-charged experiments showed that at the beginning of the reduction process, the degree of hydrogen utilisation was high, and then, it decreased over the operation time. In contrast, during the continuous-feeding experiment, the degree of hydrogen utilisation could be kept approximately constant. The highest degrees of reduction and hydrogen utilisation were obtained upon the application of a slag with a basicity of 2.3. The experiment showed that upon the continuous feeding of iron ore, the best conditions for the reduction process using hydrogen could be applied.
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