In combination with a complex global market environment, the iron and steel industry is dealing with increasing demands for reduction of environmental and greenhouse emissions. Alternative iron making technologies such as Corex® and Finex® can offer solutions for these challenges. The melter gasifier is the central unit operation of these well-established alternative iron making processes. Both offer considerable advantages with respect to economic characteristics and environmental emissions.
Similar to the conventional iron making process of the blast furnace route, a variety of different input materials is required for these processes including coal, coke, lump or fine ore, iron ore pellets as well as limestone and dolomite. Most of these raw materials also carry minor amounts of unwanted compounds such as alkali or zinc-based species. The presence of these materials inside a melter gasifier can lead to instability, problematic process conditions and refractory damages. A better understanding of the distribution of these problematic species is therefore of great importance to plant manufacturers and operators. A variety of different multiphase reactions are responsible for the distribution of trace materials within the melter gasifier. In order to get a better understanding of the complex nature of these reactions, a thermodynamic investigation was carried out using calculation routines of HSC Chemistry and FactSage.
Based on the findings of this investigation, a multi-zone model was developed using the simulation platform of the gPROMS ModelBuilder®. The model is separated into distinct reaction zones across the height of the melter gasifier to depict the main iron ore reduction process as well as the governing reactions of trace material components. Validation of the model was carried out using reference data of existing plants. The model described in this work is used to analyse the behaviour of trace materials within a melter gasifier. Due to the highly integrated material flows of the Corex® and Finex® iron making processes, the impact on their operational characteristics can be investigated as well. Through this it is possible to optimise the raw material input of these processes, potentially leading to reduced fuel demand and environmental emissions.