Direct-reduced iron (DRI) is produced from direct reduction of iron ore (in form of lumps or pellets) by a reducing gas produced from natural gas. The reduced iron is in solid state and for melting the iron, electric energy is required. This is carried out in an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF)
Presently, this process is more expensive than reducing the ore in a conventional blast furnace and it also demands that better quality iron ore is used in the process. The amount of electricity required for melting makes this also less efficient in terms if energy use. The clear potential of this proven technology is, however, the removal of the need for coke ovens.
Within the ULCOS project development is under way to reduce natural gas consumption needed to produce DRI. This is partly achieved by replacing the traditional technology, reforming, by partial oxidation of the natural gas. This will also substantially reduce capital expenditure.
In the new layout there will be a single source of Carbon dioxide(CO2). This Carbon dioxide(CO2) will be sufficiently clean for geological storage.
In the next ULCOS phase the partial oxidation will be further investigated and a pilot plant for the new concept will be commissioned.