World’s first lignite-based iron making technology

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.

The above iron was produced from the following inputs:

Iron Ore% Dry Basis

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