Rio Tinto invests in BioIron R&D facility

Rio Tinto said it will invest A$215 million to develop a research and development facility in Western Australia to further assess the effectiveness of its low-carbon ironmaking process, BioIron.

The facility, located south of Perth in the Rockingham Strategic Industrial Area, will include a pilot plant that will be 10 times larger than its predecessor in Germany. It will also be the first time the BioIron process has been tested at a semi-industrial scale, capable of producing 1 tonne of direct reduced iron per hour.

BioIron uses raw biomass and microwave energy instead of coal to convert Pilbara iron ore to metallic iron in the steelmaking process. When combined with the use of renewable energy and carbon-circulation by fast-growing biomass, BioIron has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 95% compared with the current blast furnace method, noted Rio Tinto.

Designed in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, Metso and Sedgman Onyx, the plant is expected to be commissioned in 2026. 

Source: Rio Tinto

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