Alternative Blas Furnace Reductants

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Engineering


Atom efficiency is the conversion efficiency of a chemical process in terms of the raw material atoms compared to the atoms in the desired products. Atoms which fall outside this are "waste". Overall, blast furnace (BF) production of iron can be described by the equation [Fe2O3(s) + 3CO(g) = 2Fe(l) + 3 CO2(g)]; i.e. the carbo-thermal reduction of Fe2O3 using C which is typically supplied to the blast furnace as coke. Raw material purity determines blast furnace slag impurities whilst coke quality helps to support the blast furnace burden, is converted to CO to reduce the Fe2O3 and its combustion provides energy for the carbo-thermal reaction.

The project
Tata Steel and Swansea University will study alternative blast furnace reductants with the aim of improving BF atom efficiency. Approaches will include studying if alternative sources of coke (e.g. sub-coal) can be used directly and/or be converted in to coke. Sub-coal is produced from "waste" plastic and paper. Preliminary data has shown that this has calorific value1 which suggests it could be used directly as a fuel for the blast furnace. We will also test the potential to convert sub-coal to coke. Work will investigate pellet composition before (using X-ray tomography) and after combustion and the fate of trace elements (e.g. using AAS and TGA2) to study if these end up in the pig iron, slag or as particulates. Gaseous emissions when combusting sub-coal pellets (e.g. gas, particulates) will be tested using STA-IR-MS3. An additional benefit could be that cleaner burning raw materials could give rise to less slag and less dust which could help to improve local air quality.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512382/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1940478 Studentship EP/R512382/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Fawaz Anthony Ojobowale
Description Coal can be replaced in a blast furnace with a reducing agent with a much smaller calorific value(not as high energy content) but more of the material has to be used to displace the coal
Exploitation Route The scope of the testing is so wide that future students can continue
Sectors Education,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description Theme Review at Tata Steel 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The theme review is a day set aside for students part sponsored by Tata Steel every 3 months. It involves delivering a 15 minute presentation about progress of work and how the work hopes to integrate into current systems in the company. There are then questions asked by seasoned professionals which then feeds into future plans or changing the direction of work
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020