Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) continues to grow in importance as a merchant feedstock for the global steel industry, with a significant volume of trade involving maritime transport. The pace of growth can be expected to accelerate as the iron and steel industry progresses along the pathway towards decarbonization of production. Maritime transport of HBI is governed by the regulations of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which include specific provisions for all forms of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI). Therefore, it is essential that changes in the characteristics of HBI and potential implications for it's safe transport are well understood and are properly reflected in maritime regulations. Several emerging trends have the potential to challenge the status quo with respect to safe shipment of HBI, notably decarbonization of steelmaking and the expected medium-to-long term shift to hydrogen-based HBI, and in the shorter term, the trend towards flexible and higher carbon content of HBI.
As such the HBI-C-Flex Project idea was born at an IIMA Technical Committee several years ago and so we are delighted that the project has now moved from concept to reality. The official launch took place on the 1st July 2023 in Linz Austria with considerable industry support. Project co-ordinators K1 MET, based in Leoben Austria have established the HBI-C-Flex project website - where you can sign up to receive newsletter updates - along with a dedicated Linked In page.
The project is 60% funded by a grant from the EU Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS). In addition there is a consortia of partners (EU-based) and Support Advisory Board members (International), representing a broad spectrum of steelmaking businesses, metallurgists, academic institutions and associations. For a full list of partners, please see the Project website.
A defined scope of work is in place with identification of scientific partners to undertake the various work packages 1-6. Work package 1 was a literature review which took place prior to the launch. A diagram showing the remaining work packages is below. The planned project timescale is 42 months, taking it to end 2026. Summary updates on the project will be posted on this page and in more detail on the project site.
Project website: www.hbi-c-flex.eu
Project Linked In page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/hbi-c-flex/people/
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