Metso, Rio Tinto move to next phase of BioIron

Metso said it has been awarded a detailed design and engineering contract for Rio Tinto’s continuous pilot plant (CPP) for the BioIron process – a low-carbon, iron-making process that the companies have been working together to progress. 

“We are very excited to continue the close working relationship with Rio Tinto and to provide engineering and design support as we move to the next phase of development of the BioIron technology,” said Matthias Gabriel, director, Ferrous at Metso.

BioIron uses raw biomass instead of metallurgical coal as a reductant and microwave energy to convert iron ore to metallic iron in the steelmaking process. BioIron, noted Rio Tinto, has the potential to support near-zero CO2 steelmaking, and can result in net negative emissions if linked with carbon capture and storage.

The miner aims to move further toward full-scale implementation of the BioIron technology through operation of the CPP. Metso has been entrusted with the detailed design of the plant’s reduction furnace and certain other equipment for the BioIron process.

The effectiveness of the BioIron process was successfully proven through small-scale pilot tests conducted at Metso’s Research Center in Frankfurt, Germany.

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