Metallurgy: Iron production electrified : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

Iron production electrified. New tech for extraction of Fe directly from its oxide w/o C via high-T #electrolysis.

This piece contains an interesting discussion of new blast furnace technology, which enables one to extract the oxygen directly from iron oxide without the need for carbon or the creation of carbon dioxide as it uses electrolysis. The key idea is being able to do this at very high temperatures.

Kerri Smith: Extracting iron from its naturally found form, iron oxide is a hot and heavy business. You throw your iron oxide and some carbon into a blastfurnace and then heat it to 1600 degrees Celsius, out comes iron, worldwide about a billion tons of it a year, but also outcomes carbon dioxide- bad news for the environment. Scientists would like to use other friendlier methods to make iron. This week a team from MIT reports a way to convert iron oxide to iron using electricity. It’s not a new idea. It’s basically a form of
electrolysis which extracts the oxygen leaving pure iron behind. But they’ve gotten over the biggest problem, finding material that can withstand the temperatures of molten metal oxides. Metallurgist Derek Fray at the University of Cambridge in the UK has written a News and Views article about the research. He started by telling me how much CO2, iron production is responsible for. Nature (2013); Nature(2013) ”

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