Iron Production Using Ammonia as a Reductant

October 16th, 2023

R&D Focus Areas:
Industrial heat processes

Lead Organisation:
CSIRO, Swinburne University of Technology

Swinburne University of Technology


Start date:
June 2022

Completion date:
June 2025

Key contacts:
Dr. Mark Pownceby, CSIRO Mineral Resources –
Professor Akbar Rhamdhani, Swinburne University of Technology –

Hydrogen Energy Systems Future Science Program (main contributor)

Project total cost:

Project summary description:
The reduction of iron ores with carbon generates ~7% of global CO2 emissions to produce ~1.85 billion tonnes of steel per year. This project will look at the production of iron from iron ores by utilising ammonia as reductant, instead of coke, to support low-carbon ironmaking.

The direct utilisation of ammonia in the reduction process offers a process shortcut, alleviating the need for a preliminary ammonia cracking step. The project aims are to:

  • Explore the fundamental behaviour of ammonia as iron ore reductant.
  • Investigate the conditions required for ammonia direct reduction and parameters affecting the reactions through thermodynamic and kinetics studies by ammonia injection in laboratory scale shaft and/or fluidised bed reactors.
  • Examine the reduction mechanisms of ammonia direct reduced iron (DRI) and develop a model of process characteristics.
  • Propose a suitable industrial-scale reactor design.

The project outputs will include new technologies to be developed and demonstrated at laboratory and pilot scales, scientific knowledge to be published in scholarly journals and science-based advice to government, business and industry for informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Related publications and key links:
None at this stage.

Higher degree studies supported:
One PhD student at Swinburne University of Technology is supported by this project.


October 2023