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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.

Official launch of the HBI-C-Flex Project, Linz, Austria, 4th July 2023
Official launch of the HBI-C-Flex Project, Linz, Austria, 4th July 2023
In opening remarks IIMA’s Secretary General Dr John Atherton said “This project, inspired by IIMA, will serve to inform measures for the safe handling, storage and transportation of HBI and its sustainable use in carbon neutral steelmaking”.

Project information

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.

HBI-C-Flex Project work packages
HBI-C-Flex Project work packages

Regulatory Background

Click here to see the IIMA Regulatory Background presentation.

Click here to see the IIMA Regulatory Background presentation.

Useful Links

Project website: www.hbi-c-flex.eu

Project Linked In page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/hbi-c-flex/people/

Related Articles

Midrex Direct Article December 2023 Safe Shipment of HBI - HBI-C-Flex Project & IMO Regulatory Update

Midrex Direct Article September 2021, Hot Briquetted Iron-C-Flex Project: Addressing a Challenge to the HBI Value Chain


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