Green Steel the electrolysis route to carbon free steel

Steel production produces lots of carbon dioxide (and monoxide) as carbon as coke is used to reduce the oxides in iron ore, essentially burning off the oxygen with carbon to give molten iron. That iron can be sold as cast iron but more often is used as pig iron to make steel.

Processes to make steel without the carbon are under investigation. Remelting scrap metal is one way. Purchasing pig iron from international sources like Russia is another.

The article speaks of what seems to be a molten iron electrolysis process to make steel. The temperatures required have to be high. But interesting technology. Let’s hope it works out.

I think this dates back to 2013 roughly or 2015 when Sadoway’s MIT team began to make this possible. The anode needed a film on it to stop the corrosion of the anode.

It is possibly cheaper than other steel because you do not add coke or coal to the process. It is purer as well.


The article mentions potential to recover impurities as pure materials. They would usually end up in the slag.

As always the devil is in the details. How much processing is involved. What is the value of these materials. If it was rare earths it could be a gold mine. Need to know more.

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Mostly it is iron ore without adding any coal.

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That’s just outsourcing the pollution!

The Captain


That happens all the time. When we have strict regulations raising cost of domestic production, others can import to compete. Lower labor costs, weaker environmental and safety rules, etc are common drivers.


I think we are already importing most of our pig iron.

The majority of our iron ore is imported also.

Here are the five largest iron ore mines by production in the US, according to GlobalData’s mining database.

1. Minntac Mine
2. Tilden Mine
3. Hibbing Taconite Mines
4. United Taconite Mine
5. Northshore-Peter Mitchel Mine
Five largest iron ore mines in US in 2020 (


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Yes, Cleveland Cliffs is a major supplier of pelletized taconite from the Mesabi iron range in Minnesota. Once they were an iron ore company but they bought US steel mills from Acelor and now are a steel manufacturer too.

The stock, ticker CLF, gets lots of attention. Iron ore is a commodity and the stock gets played accordingly.

Once iron ore was mined in Missouri. We had Iron Mountain and Iron Mountain Railroad. Report says it was big business in Civil War days but gradually they ran out of ore. Mining stopped in the 1960s.,of%20large%20Precambrian%2Dhosted%20deposits.

Vale in South America is a major exporter and China is a major investor.

Yes, when the Ukraine conflict began we learned that some pig iron was being imported from Russia and maybe Ukraine.

Google says: 40 operating furnaces

The U. S. blast furnace population has declined from about 125 in the mid 1970s to about 40 operating furnaces today.