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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    University of New South Wales


    Kensington, New South Wales

    ARENA Program

    Iron and Steel Research and Development Funding Round

  • Start date

    1 March 2024

    End date

    2 April 2029

  • Project Partners
    Rio Tinto
    Bluescope Steel (AIS)
    The University of Newcastle
    The University of Queensland
    University of Technology Sydney
    Cleantech Energy Australia
    JCED Australia
    Australian Coal Research
    ArcelorMittal France
    Baowu Steel, China
    Sinosteel, China
    Northeastern University, China


The Shen Lab of the University of New South Wales will lead the project to develop an innovative and highly-viable Renewable Injections-Sustainable Burdens (RISB) process for near-term-achievable blast furnace ironmaking decarbonisation. 


This project was selected as part of the competitive Iron and Steel R&D Funding Round under the Transformative Research Accelerating Commercialisation (TRAC) Program to create solutions for Australian iron ore, predominantly comprised of lower grade ore from the Pilbara, and to decarbonise domestic steel production. Near-term investment in innovative R&D is a critical enabler to rapidly develop the technologies required to transition to a net zero future state. Projects supported by the Iron and Steel R&D Funding Round seek to accelerate novel and innovative low emissions iron and steel technologies using Australian iron ore. 

The majority (~70%) of global steel production is via the blast furnace – basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF) route. In a carbon-constrained global steel market environment, low-emissions iron and steel making technologies are crucial. The Australian iron ore and steel industry faces significant challenges to decarbonise due to the fossil-derived carbon materials used for transforming iron ores to steel and the abundance of low-medium grade iron ores which are generally not suitable for processing through the conventional direct reduced iron (DRI) based electric arc furnace (EAF) route.   

The RISB process has the potential to transform the processing of lower-grade iron ores through the existing BF-BOF steelmaking route to lower emissions operations in the short to medium-term. 


The project will be delivered in two stages, a three-year Core Research Stage followed by a one-year Research Commercialisation Stage.  

The Core Research Stage aims to conduct numerical experiments through a series of computer models for process design, optimisation and screening, lab scale measurements of the properties and reaction kinetics of charging and injecting materials, and benchtop scale tests for RISB process demonstration and engineering.  

The Research Commercialisation Stage aims to conduct a technology evaluation consisting of a lifecycle analysis, technoeconomic analysis and risk analysis and perform blast furnace plant tests. The project is expected to advance the Technical Readiness Level (TRL) of the RISB technology from TRL3 to TRL 7. 


The objectives for the project will be achieved through the following Outcomes: 

  1. Reduction in, or removal of, barriers associated with using lower-grade Australian iron ores in low emissions iron and steel production through demonstration of the RISB process in blast furnaces 
  2. Improved understanding in optimising the integration of top charging low-grade Australian iron ore and/or biocoke with injections of fine-ferrous feed, hydrogen-rich gases and biochar into blast furnaces 
  3. Increased research capacity in the Australian iron and steel sector, and the facilitation of collaboration between research groups and industry, and 
  4. Improvement in the technology readiness and commercial readiness of the RISB process. 
Last updated
10 April 2024
Last updated 10 April 2024
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