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News

Trees key to sustainable steel-making

CSIRO : 13 October, 2006  (Company News)
A multidisciplinary CSIRO team investigating uses of biomass in the steel industry has demonstrated that using char produced from trees instead of coke to fuel iron ore sintering significantly improves productivity and environmental performance.
CSIRO Minerals Project Scientist Roy Lovel said that until the 1700s wood char was the preferred blast furnace fuel, but its use resulted in wide-spread deforestation, and he noted the irony that three centuries later we were looking at biomass to deliver ongoing and broad environmental benefits.

'For example, calculations suggest the ongoing production from one year of the mallee gum plantations currently being established in Western Australia for salinity control could provide enough fuel to sustain the entire Australian steel industry,' Mr Lovel said.

Sintering agglomerates fine iron ore into useable lumps and is usually fuelled by the fines left over from the production of coke for the blast furnace. However, environmental pressures and improved coke production practices have reduced supply and significantly increased prices.

CSIRO's sintered product has similar physical properties to the coke-fuelled version, is produced more quickly, has balanced greenhouse gas emissions and radically reduces noxious gas emissions.

Other stories in Process include:
Magnetite's untapped potential: Australia's significant magnetite resources could hold the key to further expansion of Australian iron ore production.

Have solution, will travel: No job too high. No job too wet. An offshore oil platform is just one of the challenging locations to which CSIRO's Particle Analysis Service has moved its experts and fragile instruments.

Optimising potential: CSIRO Minerals has developed a novel technique to predict the beneficiation potential of iron ores.

Measure for measure: On-line diagnostics and support allow CSIRO staff to evaluate and fine-tune performance of on-line analysers remotely.

Process is CSIRO's magazine of mineral processing and metal production.
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