Metso Oyj is investing EUR 8 million to build a state-of-the-art DRI (direct reduced iron) smelting furnace pilot facility in Pori, Finland where the company has one of its major R&D centres serving the minerals and metals industry.

The new facility, claims Metso, will allow customer-specific pilot-scale testing to demonstrate the applicability and results of industrial-scale DRI smelting using Metso’s Outotec® DRI Smelting Furnace technology.

“Currently, the iron and steel industry accounts for about 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions. With tightening environmental regulations, the industry is looking for new innovations to reduce its carbon footprint," said Jyrki Makkonen, vice president, smelting, at Metso.

Makkonen said there has been a lot of interest towards the recently launched Outotec® DRI Smelting Furnace from Metso. "It substitutes traditional blast furnaces used in iron and steel making, and enables a significant reduction of emissions, when combined with a direct reduction plant,” Makkonen said.

Mari Lindgren, director of smelting research and development at Metso, said that the investment into the DRI smelting furnace pilot facility supports rapidly increasing customer demand for reliable testing when planning a transition to emissions-free smelting.

"With tightening environmental regulations, the industry is looking for new innovations to reduce its carbon footprint."

Jyrki Makkonen, vice president, smelting, at Metso

“The investment into the DRI Smelting Furnace pilot facility supports the rapidly increasing customer demand for reliable testing when planning a transition to emissions-free smelting. "With the pilot facility, we can reliably test various types of customer materials for industrial scale-up. The construction of this unique facility has started, and we expect to run the first tests and campaigns in the latter part of 2024. Currently, we are serving our customers with smaller scale laboratory tests,” explained Lindgren.

The new high-capacity Outotec® DRI Smelting Furnace was launched in 2022 and is one of Metso’s breakthrough technologies. It has been described as a major Planet Positive solution to support decarbonizing the iron and steel industry.

Combined with a direct reduction plant, Metso’s Outotec® DRI Smelting Furnace substitutes traditional blast furnaces in the production of hot metal, making it an optimal solution for primary steel producers aiming for a significant reduction in their CO2 emissions with minimal changes to the rest of the steel plant. The furnace can be integrated with Metso’s hydrogen-based CircoredTM process or other direct reduction processes.