Decarbonising ironmaking with Australian renewable hydrogen and WA iron ores

August 21st, 2023

R&D Focus Areas:
Industrial heat processes, industrial feedstock processes

Lead Organisation:
University of Western Australia

Future Energy Exports CRC


Start date:
August 2023

Project summary description:
This project aims to build the knowledge foundation for using renewable hydrogen and NH3 as a hydrogen carrier for decarbonising ironmaking with a focus on Western Australian (WA) iron ores and prepare the WA iron ore industry to meet the expectation of feedstock for future iron making technologies.

This tailored approach not only aligns with and contributes to the FEnEx CRC’s goal of developing Hydrogen Exports & Value Chains, more specifically on the utilisation of renewable hydrogen and hydrogen carriers, but also assists the WA ore producers to formulate their products to adapt to the emerging low-carbon steel technologies in countries where most of the iron products are made.

Developing an end use market with confidence in safe, reliable and efficient utilisation of H2 and NH3 is a key to the success of Australia’s future hydrogen export industry. This project will specifically make critical contributions in the direct use of hydrogen and NH3 as a reductant for the production of low-carbon DRIs of a wide range of WA’s Pilbara iron ores, and benchmark the performance of hydrogen and NH3 against that of CH4 as well as more traditional reductant, CO.

This project will lead to the generation of a large data set of scientific understanding of the direct reduction behaviour of a wide range of WA’s Pilbara iron ores of different mineral types with different gaseous reductants and the effect of operation conditions such as temperature, reductant concentration and solid-gas contact time on the reaction rate and reduction products.

Laboratory scale reactor systems mimicking two major DRI processes, namely the fluidised bed process and shaft furnace process, will be designed and built for performance evaluation, operation condition optimisation, technology demonstration and data collection for scaling up. A comprehensive raw ore samples and DRI characterisation program will be conducted to provide the scientific support to the development of next generation iron ore industry and the Pilbara ore products to suit the future low carbon iron and steel making industry.

Further information:
21.RP2.0157 Decarbonising ironmaking with Australian renewable hydrogen and WA iron ores – Future Energy Exports CRC (


August 2023