Tata Steel acquires the full IP rights of HIsarna technology

HIsarna ironmaking site

HIsarna pilot plant at Tata Steel, IJmuiden (NL) site (© Picture copyrighted by Tata Steel)

Tata Steel has taken a step which places it at the forefront of lower-carbon steel innovation. Tata Steel has acquired the Rio Tinto’s smelter technology (HIsmelt) and intellectual property rights required to operate the HIsarna process. By this acquisition Tata Steel strengthens its position in low-carbon future technology.

The company has been testing the groundbreaking technology called HIsarna at its IJmuiden steelworks in the Netherlands. HIsarna is a revolutionary technology for low-carbon steelmaking. HIsarna has the potential to reduce energy use and carbon emissions by at least 20%*, as well as reducing steelmaking costs through lower-priced raw materials, up to half of which could be recycled scrap steel.

HIsarna is a completely new technology in the steelmaking process which combines Tata Steel’s cyclone converter furnace with Rio Tinto’s smelter. HIsarna consists of a reactor into which iron ore is inserted at the top. The ore is liquefied in a high-temperature cyclone and drips to the bottom of the reactor. When powdered coal is injected into the reactor, it combines with the molten ore to produce pure liquid iron and CO2.

*The technology removes a number of pre-processing steps, resulting in significant efficiency gains and 20% reductions in energy use and CO2 emissions. The HIsarna installation produces almost pure CO2, making the gas ideally suited for capture and either storage or use, which could lead to total CO2 savings of 80% from the steel production process. It could also lead to substantial reductions in emissions of fine particles and the reduction of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

T. V. Narendran, Tata Steel Managing director, said: “Tata Steel has a legacy of pioneering initiatives in several areas of management and process technology. The acquisition of the full intellectual property rights for HIsarna is a significant step towards establishing our pioneering credentials in the steel manufacturing space and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the business. Reduction in use of energy and carbon emissions is a challenge for the steel industry and I laud the efforts of our team in the Netherlands for their tireless effort in establishing the HIsarna technology. HIsarna could play a role in helping society to achieve a circular economy with zero waste. I want to thank Rio Tinto for the support it has given to this technology development over a number of years.”