Primetals Technologies, together with its strategic partners Mitsubishi Corp., Fortescue and voestalpine, signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at designing and engineering an industrial-scale prototype plant with a new process for net-zero-emission ironmaking at voestalpine’s site in Linz, Austria. The collaboration will also investigate the implementation and operation of the plant. The new ironmaking process will be based on Primetals Technologies’ HYFOR and smelter solutions. HYFOR is a direct-reduction process for iron-ore fines that will not require any agglomeration steps, like sintering or pelletizing. The smelter technology is a furnace powered by electrical energy. It is used for melting and final reduction of direct-reduced iron (DRI) based on lower-grade iron ores. In that way, it produces alternative green hot metal for the steelmaking plant.

The project planning phase will be used to design an industrial-scale prototype plant with a capacity of 3-5 tons of green hot metal per hour. According to Primetals Technologies, it is the first solution to link a hydrogen-based direct-reduction plant for iron-ore fines with a smelter. Fortescue will supply various iron ores for the new plant.