The Low Temperature Blast Furnace
PATRICK E. CAVANAGH, Vice-President, Sales & Research, Steep Rock Iron Mines Limited.
A pilot shaft furnace was operated for one year at Steep Rock to produce special high-grade products from coarse ore, using lignite as fuel. The furnace is 10 ft in diameter and 60 ft high. When operated to heat coarse Steep Rock ore to drive off combined water and give a 64-per-cent-Fe product, the fuel consumption was 900,000 Btu's per long ton of product. The furnace was run in this way from September 1966 to January 1967 to establish the technique of feeding and discharging the furnace and controlling the gas composition and temperature. The furnace is similar in operation to a lignite water gas producer containing a large proportion of catalytic iron oxide. Steam injection is used to control the temperature. The product was tumbled in a rotary trommel to stabilize it. The resulting fines could be fed to the conventional pellet plant at Steep Rock. The furnace was next operated to make 77-per-cent-Fe metallized coarse ore. Several major modifications in design were made and the furnace was successfully operated for short periods to maintain the required conditions to remove 75 per cent of the oxygen from the ore to give a 75-per-cent-reduced product at a grade of 77 per cent iron. The furnace cooling zone was operated under positive pressure, with internal alkaline water sprays to cool the charge. The product was discharged from the open bottom of the furnace without serious reoxidation. The metallized ore was magnetically separated from the discharge. Most of the charred lignite discharged along with the ore is recycled. Fuel requirement was 11,000,000 Btu's per long ton of product. This metallized coarse ore is intended for blast furnace feed. A short test run was carried out to establish the conditions for making a highly reduced melting stock for steel furnaces. To achieve 90 per cent reduction and over 90 per cent Fe, the furnace must be slowed down so that the production rate is about one-half the rate when making a 75-per-cent-reduced metallized product. Fuel requirement is 15,000,000 Btu's per long ton of product. The simple shaft furnace developed is similar to the top half of a blast furnace, with some major modifications to allow discharging into the open air. This Low Temperature Blast Furnace program has been technically successful and has resulted in making data available for the design of a commercial plant. Study of the commercial feasibility of large-scale production of metallized coarse ore at Steep Rock is still continuing
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