NEW YORK Berry Metal Co. has been tapped to lend its expertise in equipment design and manufacturing to an $8.9-million flash ironmaking project selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Innovative Manufacturing Initiative.
Berry, a Harmony, Pa.-based company that focuses on the design and manufacture of injection lance equipment and technology, is joining the American Iron and Steel Institute and researchers at the University of Utah in the collaborative effort, which is keyed toward developing an energy-efficient and environmentally preferred alternative to the traditional blast furnace ironmaking route, the company said.
Early test results have shown that the breakthrough process, which uses direct gaseous reduction of fine iron concentrates to make iron, can achieve carbon dioxide reductions of up to 50 percent depending on the reductant, Berry said.
"We have an abundance of natural gas, and this technology provides the ability to take advantage of natural gas finds, such as the Marcellus Shale, in the near term and hydrogen in the longer term," Lou Valentas, director of technology and applications at Berry, said in a statement.
Berry, which is responsible for engineering, designing and fabricating the reactor, said it has already devised a solution to advance the flash ironmaking project from a small-scale laboratory experiment to a much-larger-scale pre-pilot reactor that is set to begin testing during the next two years.
After testing at the large-scale lab is complete, the research will continue, with the goal of using hydrogen to further cut emissions, energy and costs.
"Its still in the early stages," said Berry president George Koenig, "but were very proud to be part of a project that does nothing but good things for our partners, the industry and the community."