GreenIron has reduced iron ore to 96% entirely without CO2 emissions

It is possible to increase the recycling of iron without carbon dioxide emissions shows a Swedish invention. The start-up company GreenIron is supported by EIT RawMaterials and has four valuable patents for a unique innovation: a furnace that creates pure iron without any emissions. The furnace makes it possible to recycle residual products from the steel-, mining- and manufacturing industry. The process is entirely CO2 free; the only emissions from the process are water and reduced iron pellets.

Why should we accept CO2 emissions when we don’t need it? The only thing that comes out of our furnace is pure iron and water.

Edward Murray, CEO at GreenIron

The production process is centered around a 5-ton Bell furnace with electric heating units. The furnace is charged with oxidized iron-based pellets and evacuated. After that, the furnace is heated to ca 650°C and pressurized hydrogen is added. The Laws of Nature regarding pressure differences, temperature, and mass are the main drivers of the process. The structure of the process and the low working temperature allows for minimum wear and tear and thus a low cost of maintenance.

The furnace is small and can be placed where residues and waste are produced, which allows companies to save on transport, which further reduces costs and carbon dioxide emissions. The furnace is also cheap and scalable.

Edward Murray, GreenIron

It almost sounds too good to be true.

96% pure iron

Edward Murray brings out a transparent plastic box with what looks like liquorice balls. “This is 96 per cent pure iron,” he says, taking up a handful of pellets that have been reduced in the oven.

In the tests carried out, GreenIron has already reduced iron ore to 96% entirely without CO2 emissions. GreenIron currently has four patents in the PCT phase (global patents) for its zero-emission method of reducing metal oxides to pure metals.

The material to be processed must initially be pelletized before insertion into the furnace. The pellets are then put into a “bucket” whereafter the charge is inserted into the furnace. The process starts by heating the charge to the point that the process of reduction begins and water is created. When the reduction is completed, the material is cooled before ending the process and removing the charge from the furnace. The output is non-pyrophoric iron pellets that can be reintroduced into the steelmaking process.

The first reports show that there are no similar patents in the world. We are completely alone in this area, and the process and system are unique.

Edward Murray, GreenIron

Unique invention globally

The inventor of GreenIron’s technology and founder of GreenIron, Hans Murray, commenced his research into recycling of secondary materials containing steel and iron at the end of the 1960s.

My father Hans discovered a new method for recycling metal oxides, developed the process and tested it for three years in a laboratory. As the process was perfected a production furnace was constructed at a steel plant in Sweden in the mid 1970s. The furnace was successfully operated over a 6 month period using cold formed pellets.

Edward Murray, GreenIron

Forty years ago, environmental issues were not prioritized, and industrial engagement was weak. Today, environmental issues are high on the agenda, and the industry is looking for sustainable and profitable solutions. Since environmental issues were not prioritized at the time, there was not enough interest to start using this new technology despite the successful testing results.

In 2016, we realized that time had caught up with dad’s old idea. We picked up his old process and system descriptions and made them, even more, energy-efficient according to the technology changes that have occurred over the last 45 years.

Edward Murray, GreenIron

That’s when they realized that the invention was still unique. The furnace brings benefits both for society as a whole and for industry, as it is environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and has low investment and operational costs. This is why EIT RawMaterials and Vinnova have supported the company.

I cannot describe in words how important the support we have received has been for us. Thanks to the support, the process and the furnace have been tested and is now ready for use by, for example, steel companies, manufacturing industry and recycling companies that want to increase the recycling of iron without carbon dioxide emissions.

Edward Murray, GreenIron

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