Hydrogen-based direct reduction of iron oxide at 700°C: Heterogeneity at pellet and microstructure scales

Ma, Y. and Souza Filho, I.R. and Zhang, X. and Nandy, S. and Barriobero-Vila, P. and Requena, G. and Vogel, D. and Rohwerder, M. and Ponge, D. and Springer, H. and Raabe, D.

Volume: 29 Pages: 1901-1907
DOI: 10.1007/s12613-022-2440-5
Published: 2022

Steel production causes a third of all industrial CO2 emissions due to the use of carbon-based substances as reductants for iron ores, making it a key driver of global warming. Therefore, research efforts aim to replace these reductants with sustainably produced hydrogen. Hydrogen-based direct reduction (HyDR) is an attractive processing technology, given that direct reduction (DR) furnaces are routinely operated in the steel industry but with CH4 or CO as reductants. Hydrogen diffuses considerably faster through shaft-furnace pellet agglomerates than carbon-based reductants. However, the net reduction kinetics in HyDR remains extremely sluggish for high-quantity steel production, and the hydrogen consumption exceeds the stoichiometrically required amount substantially. Thus, the present study focused on the improved understanding of the influence of spatial gradients, morphology, and internal microstructures of ore pellets on reduction efficiency and metallization during HyDR. For this purpose, commercial DR pellets were investigated using synchrotron high-energy X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy in conjunction with electron backscatter diffraction and chemical probing. Revealing the interplay of different phases with internal interfaces, free surfaces, and associated nucleation and growth mechanisms provides a basis for developing tailored ore pellets that are highly suited for a fast and efficient HyDR. © 2022, The Author(s).

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