Rio Tinto’s BioIron™ proves successful for low-carbon iron-making
The process, known as BioIron™, uses raw biomass instead of metallurgical coal as a reductant and microwave energy to convert Pilbara iron ore to metallic iron in the steelmaking process. BioIron™ has the potential to support near-zero CO2 steel-making, and can result in net negative emissions if linked with carbon capture and storage.
Over the past 18 months, the process has been tested extensively in
“The results from this initial testing phase show great promise and demonstrate that the BioIron process is well suited to Pilbara iron ore fines. BioIron is just one of the pathways we are developing in our decarbonisation work with our customers, universities and industry to reduce carbon emissions right across the steel value chain.”
BioIron™’s potential was confirmed in a comprehensive and independent technical review by Hatch, the global engineering, project management and professional services firm. Hatch noted the thorough work completed by the team and BioIron™’s capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while converting Pilbara iron ore into iron and steel.
The BioIron™ process will now be tested on a larger scale, at a specially designed continuous pilot plant with a capacity of one tonne per hour. The design of the pilot plant is underway and
The BioIron™ process works using lignocellulosic biomass including agricultural by-products (e.g. wheat straw, canola stalks, barley straw, sugar cane bagasse) or purpose-grown crops. The biomass is blended with iron ore and heated by a combination of combusting gases released by the biomass and high-efficiency microwaves that can be powered by renewable energy.
Notes to editors
Steelmaking accounts for 8 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, and 66 percent of Rio Tinto’s Scope 3 emissions.
The BioIron™ process is well suited to Pilbara iron ore fines and is a highly efficient use of biomass as it is primarily used as a reductant, with microwave energy driving the iron ore reduction reactions to remove the oxygen from the iron ore.
Please direct all enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
M+ 44 7796 630 637
M +44 7787 597 493
M +514 796 4973
M +1 418 592 7293
M +61 433 525 739
M +61 436 653 412
M: +44 7825 195 178
M +44 7920 010 978
M +44 7788 967 877
M +61 439 353 948
M +61 472 865 948
6 St James’s Square
T +44 20 7781 2000
T +61 3 9283 3333
ABN 96 004 458 404