India looking to develop hydrogen based DRI tech

India is looking at developing its own pure-hydrogen based DRI (direct reduction of iron) technology to be used in making of green steel. The process will be unique to the country and the detailed project report so prepared “is under – scrutiny” across ministries, a senior government official aware of the discussions, told.

Industrial-scale hydrogen-iron making — also known as direct reduction of iron (DRI) using hydrogen — is where oxygen is removed from the iron-ore and instead of using high carbon emitting fossil fuels, the process is done using hydrogen, with the waste gas removed as water. The DRI so produced, also called sponge iron, is then fed into an electric arc furnace where electrodes generate a current to use it to produce steel.

Sources aware of the discussions say that a pilot plant using pure hydrogen-based DRI making is being proposed in a “consortium mode”. It involves integrated (steel) players, secondary players and CSIR Lab (Council for Scientific & industrial Research) for development of the technology and necessary IP (intellectual property).

Hydrogen can be extracted from hydrogen-bearing fuels such as natural gas and biogas, and from water using electrolysis. Primary source of hydrogen-production is currently natural gas, accounting for around three quarters of the annual global dedicated hydrogen production of around 70 million tonnes. At present, less than 0.1 per cent of global dedicated hydrogen production comes from water electrolysis.

So far, there are two prominent avenues of hydrogen-usage in steel making, which are tapped in India.

The first involves injection of hydrogen in the tuyeres (a nozzle through which air is forced into a smelter or furnace) of the blast furnaces as a partial substitution of pulverized coal injection (PCI).

The second process is where mixing or blending of hydrogen with the natural gas or fossil fuel-based reductants in the DRI furnaces is carried out. Hydrogen acts as a partial replacement of the Natural Gas.

Tags: DRI Tech, Hydrogen, India
Share with your friends