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Ferro-coke utilization promises to reduce energy consumption in ironmaking

By Tetsuo Satoh |

JFE Steel Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; www.jfe-steel.co.jp) plans to build a pilot plant for using ferro coke in the ironmaking process at its Fukuyama area of West Japan Works, with support from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO; Kawasaki, Japan; www.nedo.go.jp). The $150-million medium-scale plant will produce 300 ton/d of ferro coke, which will replace some of the coke used in the blast furnace for making iron. Ultimately, the company aims to reduce energy consumption in the ironmaking process by 10% by 2022.

In conventional ironmaking, sintered iron ore is mixed with coke in a blast furnace to reduce the iron in the ore. In addition to the sintering step, the process requires high-grade coal in the coking ovens, and both steps are energy intensive. In the new process (diagram), the coke is partially replaced with ferro coke. The ferro coke is made by mixing low-grade (non-coking) coal, low-grade ore fines with a binder, and then forming it into briquettes, followed by carbonization and reduction in a shaft furnace.

ironmaking

By reducing the amount of coke needed in the blast furnace, JFE Steel expects it can reduce the energy consumption by taking advantage of the catalytic function of the ultra-fine particles (less than 50-μm dia.) of the iron metal contained in the ferro coke, reducing the amount of coke needed and operating at lower temperatures.

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