NEW YORK While
direct-reduced iron (DRI) is "what everyone is talking about,"
there are many misconceptions about the product, Bradford
Research Inc. president Charles Bradford said June 18 on the
sidelines of the Steel Success Strategies XXVIII conference in
"You cant just
stick (DRI in any furnace). There are limitations for its use,"
Bradford said at the event, sponsored by AMM and
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based World Steel Dynamics Inc.
sometimes overlook the cost of building a DRI plant, which has
a shorter lifespan than other ironmaking processes, has greater
maintenance requirements, and carries capital depreciation and
borrowing costs, he said.
Generally, building a
DRI plant in North America "is a risk. ... Have all of those
considering it properly assessed those risks?" Bradford asked,
noting that DRI is most useful where cheap natural gas is
available to fuel the products production process and
where there is limited scrap generation.
DRI might be more at
home in the Middle East, where scrap is scarce because of
limited industrial development, than it is in North America,
where scrap is plentiful, he said.
A DRI plant needs to
be located near the melt shop because the material is
pyrophoric and inherently unstable. "Boats are known to have
burned to the water line," Bradford said.
according to Bradford, is that DRI and scrap can be compared
directly. "Its like apples and oranges. DRI is not
freight delivered, its f.o.b. the mill," while scrap is
Some individuals have
also failed to assess a "value-in-use penalty" for DRI, which
consumes more electricity and electrodes in the melting
process, he said.
DRI "also slows down
the furnace," Bradford said, estimating a $40-per-ton penalty
compared with melting pig iron and a $30-per-ton penalty
compared with scrap. Pig iron contains more carbon, which burns
faster at standard power usage.