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Lot Fourteen-based research centre lands $6 million for green iron and steel research

Posted April 23, 2024

The ambitions of HILT CRC and its partners to accelerate innovation in low emission iron and steel production have been given a $6.2 million boost thanks to funding from The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

The investment will focus efforts on developing technology and processes to overcome challenges in using low-grade Pilbara iron ores in low emissions direct reduced ironmaking (DRI) and avoiding more carbon intensive blast furnaces in steel production.

HILT CRC CEO Jenny Selway says: “Australia produces almost 40% of the world’s iron ore supply. Demonstrating that these ores are suitable for future green iron and steel processes at scale represents a significant opportunity, both for reduction of global emissions and to strengthen the Australian economy. This ARENA funding will help HILT accelerate innovation in this important research area.”

ARENA has awarded $1.4 million towards a $5.7 million HILT CRC led project investigating the use of reagents to upgrade iron ore. These reagents are sourced from seawater reverse osmosis brine by-products created during hydrogen production. The project has also received additional financial and in-kind support from the Minerals Institute of Western Australia ($0.5 million), Curtin University ($0.5 million) and HILT CRC ($3.3million).

Curtin University’s Professor Jacques Eksteen and Dr Linda Hockaday will lead the project which aims to improve the commercial viability of using low-grade iron ores in low emissions DRI production. The project also aims to support the circular economy by not only using waste brines to upgrade the ores, but also by generating valuable by-products

ARENA has provided a further $4.8 million towards a $13.7 million project, which leverages a current HILT project. Led by Australian National University, it will investigate end-to-end processes for producing green steel from primarily lower-grade Pilbara iron ore fines. DRI using Australian iron ore fines could provide several advantages but has historically encountered adverse technical issues which this research is addressing.

Funding for both projects has been made possible through ARENA’s recent Iron and Steel Research and Development funding round.

HILT CRC is an Australian based collaborative venture that brings together industries, researchers and government organisations to de-risk decarbonisation pathways that will enable the iron, steel, alumina and cement industries to achieve net zero by 2050.

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