Sourcing Renewables - October 15, 2021
Rio Tinto Explores Biomass-Powered Steelmaking Process
Rio Tinto announced Oct. 13 a new technology used in its steelmaking processes using sustainable biomass in place of coking coal to lower the emissions associated with production.
The mining company developed a process for using sustainable biomass and microwave technology to convert iron ore to metallic iron during the process in a patent-pending solution that is now being testing in a small-scale pilot. The company will go on to test it in a larger-scale environment in the hopes of scaling it commercially in its iron ore processing.
“We are encouraged by early testing results of this new process, which could provide a cost-efficient way to produce low-carbon steel from our Pilbara iron ore,” Simon Trott, Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive, said in a statement. “More than 70 per cent of Rio Tinto’s Scope 3 emissions are generated as customers process our iron ore into steel, which is critical for urbanisation and infrastructure development as the world’s economies decarbonise. So, while it’s still early days and there is a lot more research and other work to do, we are keen to explore further development of this technology.”
University of Nottingham’s Microwave Process Engineering Group will work with Rio Tinto on further developing the process. Rio Tinto plans to pursue an independent accredited certification process if the technology of using agricultural by-products in processing instead of coal is developed further.
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