EVALUATION OF THE CAPABILITIES OF DIRECT AND SMELTING REDUCTION PROCESSES TO ENHANCE THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND TO REDUCE THE CO2 EMISSION OF THE STEEL PRODUCTION IN EUROPE
The processes of direct reduction and smelting reduction are alternatives to the blast furnace route for the production of metallic feed material from iron ore avoiding cokemaking. The natural gas-based direct reduction processes have lower CO2 emissions in comparison to the coal-based liquid hot metal producing processes “blast furnace” and “smelting reduction”. Regarding energy consumption all three routes are of equal value. For an application of the routes that form an alternative to the blast furnace in Europe the integration into an existing integrated iron and steel works is evaluated. A replacement of the blast furnace – converter route by gas-based direct reduction with a subsequent electric steelmaking with the target to reduce CO2 emissions does not seem economical feasible under the current situation in EU28. New technologies for the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen from CO2-free renewable energy sources are under development. If they achieve industrial scale maturity the production of metallic feed material for steelmaking from iron ore without CO2 emission will become technological achievable.