Iron carbide (Fe3C) is a chemical compound of 93% iron and 7% carbon in pure form. It can be used as the only feed for BOFs and EAFs. In that role it eliminates the need for coke ovens and the blast furnace, and all the ancillary equipment for coal and lime. The Iron Carbide process is a two stage fluidized bed process that operates at a lower temperature than other direct reduction processes. It operates at low pressures and uses steam reforming to produce the H2 which is mixed with CH4 to make the carburizing gas. It produces Fe3C powder which contains about 6% carbon.
An indication of the inherent thermal efficiency of the process is gained from the fact that the temperature of formation of iron carbide in the fluid bed reactor is only 600C as against around 1000C for reduction of iron in DRI processes and 1500C to produce hot metal in the blast furnace.
in addition to reducing energy demand – due to reduced process temperature – this process is expected to lower production costs as no storage is needed for the product.