HydroMOR

Since the advent of coke based iron production in 1709, primary iron making has relied on high-quality black coal as its reductant and heat source, requiring high-grade coal and iron ore.

Our HydroMOR process is positioned to help bridge a crucial environmental gap in iron making thanks to the design of our simple, low cost, low emission, patented HydroMOR retort using cheaper, alternative raw materials.

HydroMOR, which stands for ‘hydrogen-based metal oxide reduction’, comprises three exclusive facets:

  1. Inputs – It uses brown coal (lignite) as a reductant and heat source – no other technology can claim this
  2. Hydrogen – HydroMOR is dominated by a hydrogen reduction reaction, instead of the traditional carbon-based reduction reaction
  3. Plant Design – It employs our unique HydroMOR retort – a vertical furnace that works with the natural chemistry of brown coal

HydroMOR supersedes our previous Matmor process, which also used lignite but operated at a higher temperature range and relied upon a carbon-based reduction reaction.

The Process

HydroMOR is a unique method for producing high-quality iron from inexpensive, abundant brown coal and iron oxide bearing material such as mill scale, nickel tailings and, of course, high or low-grade iron ore.

Stage 1: Composite Pellet Production

  • Using the Coldry Process, the raw materials are milled to <8mm, combined with a small amount of water, mixed and extruded
  • The extruded mixture is conditioned until dry-to-the-touch
  • The semi-dry pellets are conveyed into a vertical packed bed dryer, where warm air provided by waste heat is circulated through the bed of pellets, removing the evaporated moisture
  • The Composite Pellets are discharged at the base of the dryer and conveyed to the HydroMOR Retort

Stage 2: HydroMOR Retort

  • The Composite Pellets are charged via the top of the HydroMOR Retort
  • The Retort heats the pellets in a reducing atmosphere
  • As the Composite Pellets travel down the retort, various reactions take place:
    • Gasification of the volatile matter in the lignite produces hydrocarbon gases
    • Catalytic thermal decomposition of the hydrocarbons produces hydrogen
    • Hydrogen reduces the iron oxide to iron, producing H2O or water-gas
    • Reactions within the retort result in the chemical looping of hydrogen, amplifying reduction
  • The reduced pellets are discharged at the base of the retort and contain carbon, iron and ash
  • The reduced pellets can be cooled and stored or melted in an electric arc or induction furnace for secondary steelmaking
  • The liquid metal is then cast to the desired product format

The Product

The HydroMOR Process delivers a clean iron product tailored to the size/shape and carbon content requirements of the end-user. 

The HydroMOR Process delivers a clean iron product tailored to the size/shape and carbon content requirements of the end-user.

Indicative Composition%
Fe98%
C1%
Other1%

The above iron was produced from the following inputs:

Iron Ore% Dry Basis
Fe67.42
SiO22.15
Ni0.03
TiO21.02
V0.37
MgO2.25
Al0.27
CaO0.80
Mn0.09
Cu0.004
P0.011
S0.057

Features & Benefits

The advantages of the HydroMOR Process over traditional blast furnace iron making are:

  • Replacement of expensive metallurgical coal with cheap, abundant lignite
  • The opportunity to replace expensive high-grade Iron Ore (60%+Fe) with cheaper, low-grade Iron Ore
  • Able to recover iron from millscale and other waste materials
  • Process requires significantly less heat/energy
  • Capital cost less than traditional blast furnaces for equivalent production capacity
  • Recirculation of waste gases minimises emissions
  • Lignite, as a reductant, is more chemically reactive than the black coal currently used in traditional primary iron production.

The advantages over alternate Iron making processes are:

  • HydroMOR is the only lignite-based process
  • Economic at a smaller scale
  • Lower emissions
  • Able to recover iron from waste streams such as millscale and nickel tailings