Friday, January 28, 2011

No. 233: Environmentally-focused experimental blast furnace toward 2015 (January 28, 2011)

A total of six companies made up mainly of leading Japanese steelmakers will construct an experimental blast furnace toward 2015 with an investment of 15 billion yen. The experimental blast furnace is about 30-20 cubic meters with a daily crude steel production capacity of several tens of tons. It will be used for the development of the next-generation steelmaking process named COURSE50 scheduled for 2030 that is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 30% from the current level. The six companies have been jointly working on it on consignment from New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). They plan to replace part of coal for extracting oxygen in iron ore with hydrogen, put the technology to separate and collect carbon dioxide in the exhaust gases from the blast furnace into practical use, and examine the response of iron ore in the case that hydrogen gas is used. They are scheduled to start the substantiative experiments in Sweden using the experiment furnace owned by LKAB of Sweden in the first half of 2012. The only experiment furnace in Japan is owned by Sumitomo Metal Industries, but it turned to be too small to do large-scale experiment because its volume is about four cubic meters.

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