On the Direct Reduction Phenomena of Bauxite Ore Using H2 Gas in a Fixed Bed Reactor
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Sustainable Metallurgy. 2020, 6 (2), 227-238. 10.1007/s40831-020-00268-5
The Bayer Process is the dominant industrial method to produce alumina from bauxite ore. Due to the generation of large amounts of Bauxite Residue (red mud), an alternative method, called the Pedersen Process, is of our interest. This process makes use of a combination of pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical techniques in order to prevent the Bauxite Residue generation. In the conventional Pedersen Process, iron in the bauxite is separated in the form of pig iron through a carbothermic smelting-reduction step which has a CO2 emission similar to that during conventional iron production. In order to eliminate the CO2 emission of this step, the focus of the present work is to reduce the iron oxides of bauxite ore by hydrogen gas (H2) prior to smelting and minimizing the use of solid carbon materials for the reduction. The thermochemistry and the kinetics of reactions during calcination and direct reduction of a bauxite ore were studied by a thermogravimetric technique and in situ analysis of the gaseous products. The onset temperatures for the decomposition of bauxite components during calcination were determined. The kinetics of the reduction of hematite to metallic iron was studied and it is shown that the reduction of iron oxides to metallic iron starts at temperatures below 560 °C and it accelerates at higher temperatures. Moreover, it is indicated that the formation of hercynite (FeAl2O4) phase retards the complete reduction at temperatures higher than 760 °C.