Calix Ltd, one of HILT CRC’s Key Partners, has announced its completion of a Front-End Engineering and Design (FFED) study for a 30,000 tonne per annum Zero Emissions Steel Technology (ZESTY) Hydrogen Direct Reduced Iron (H-DRI) demonstration plant.

The study was supported with funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and with support from HILT CRC through our research project: RP1.009 Testing of Australian Iron Ores in a Hydrogen Direct Flash Smelting Process, which demonstrated metallisation degrees bringing DRI into commercial range from low grade Australian hematite ore.

This collaboration represents a significant milestone in the pursuit of green iron production and unveiled several promising highlights:

Cost efficiency – ZESTY has the potential to produce near-zero emissions hot briquetted iron (HBI) from low grade iron ore for ~AUD$630-800 per tonne of HBI. This cost is close to the range of existing, carbon-intensive HBI processing costs, before any benefit of emissions reduction is accounted for.

Emissions reduction – ZESTY would reduce the emissions intensity of reducing iron ore to metal iron from 1.89 tonnes of CO2/tonne of iron to near zero. The reduction of iron ore to metal iron currently accounts for 80-85% of the steel industry’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Ore testing success – an expansive ore testing program demonstrated metallisation degrees of 70-95% for a wide range of Australian goethite and hematite ores resulting in a product with an iron content of 66-85%, which brings these results into commercial grade for a range of ores, including low grade Australian hematite ore.

Low cost production – ZESTY’s low cost of production is driven by efficient hydrogen use, efficient electric heating, and the elimination of additional processing steps. Further cost savings are expected as the technology is scaled and refined.

Progress towards implementation – a Financial Investment Decision on a ZESTY HBI Demonstration facility is being progressed and is subject to plant location and commercial agreements currently under negotiation.

In summary, this study represents a significant step forward in advancing green iron production technology. ZESTY holds immense potential to revolutionise the steel industry by offering a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternative to conventional iron production methods.

More details about the study and next steps can be found here.

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