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CRM has developed at laboratory scale the COMET direct reduction process, which produces high-quality sponge iron (DRI) from iron ore fines and crushed coal. The aim of this ECSC project was to provide an engineering study and a cost evaluation for a plant that could be used for a first demonstration of the COMET process on an industrial scale.

Using a small pilot installation, the feasibility of the process on a continuous basis has been demonstrated: the charging and discharging operations can be properly achieved on a continuous basis with the selected technologies, highly metallised DRI is produced with a high purity degree (low gangue and low sulphur contents) and the measured value of the raw materials rates, product quality and productivity do confirm the results obtained from the static laboratory experiments.

The technical and economic feasibility of the COMET process on the industrial scale was then studied. A comparative study shows that, taking into account all production costs and a relative steelmaking cost, the economics of the COMET process are attractive: DRI can be produced at about USD 130/t, even for limited production capacities (0.4 to 0.5 Mt/y).

A cost evaluation for a COMET demonstration plant at industrial scale showed that the total investment cost for such a plant producing 1.6t DRI/h would be close to EUR 5 910 000. The total operating cost for a test campaign including 20 two-shift trials and two two-day trials to be performed within one year is estimated to be EUR 390 500. 500.

Additional information

Authors: BORLEE J, CRM, Liege (BE);MUNNIX R, CRM, Liege (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 19418 EN (2001), pp.105. Euro: 16.00
Availability: Available from EUR-OP sales agents. URL:
ISBN: ISBN: 92-894-2138-X
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