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2011-Sustainable Industrial Processing Summit
|Flogen Star OUTREACH
|2291-1227 (Metals and Materials Processing in a Clean Environment Series)
The iron and steel industry sector has made remarkable progress in the last 40 years to reduce its energy consumption and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). To sustain this progress, unconventional ironmaking routes have been reconsidered in the last 10 years. Indeed, in the context of energy supply constraints, climate change, and GHG emissions mitigation, post-carbon societies are expected to rely on carbon-free electricity, a form of energy not currently associated with iron extraction. Among the possible electrometallurgical technologies is electrolysis, itself a well established production method making tonnage quantities of metals such as aluminium and magnesium. Indeed, in the last ten years both in Europe through ULCOS and in North America under the auspices of the CO2 Breakthrough Program, electrolytic approaches to ironmaking have been the subject of investigation. Following a recitation of the key performance requirements of a disruptive technology capable of tonnage iron production, this presentation describes the special challenges taking a high-temperature electrolytic process from the laboratory bench to industrial scale. Recent advances in the field will be presented, and the remaining scientific questions and technological obstacles to commercialization will be enumerated.