Electra ($113M to produce green steel using low-grade ores and renewable energy)

Electra, an American cleantech company founded in 2020, develops an ore dissolution and iron conversion system that uses renewable electricity to enable low-temperature aqueous metallurgical processes for producing relatively pure metallic iron for green steel production.

Challenges: carbon emission of steel industry

The steel production industry is one of the largest industrial sectors in the world, making a significant contribution to the global economy. However, it is also responsible for a substantial amount of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions, a major contributor to climate change. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the steel industry is responsible for approximately 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

The main source of carbon dioxide emissions in the steel production industry comes from the use of fossil fuels, particularly coal, to generate the high temperatures required to melt and refine iron ore. The process of producing steel also requires large amounts of electricity, which is primarily generated from fossil fuel sources.

To address the problem of carbon dioxide emissions in the steel industry, there is a growing need to transition towards more sustainable and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. This would enable the production of green steel, which has a significantly lower carbon footprint than traditional steel. As the cost of renewable energy decreases, the transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean electricity for steel production becomes increasingly attractive.

However, electrically-driven iron production presents its own set of challenges, such as the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources and the difficulty of dissolving and reducing iron ores while removing impurities. One major challenge is that high-temperature processes are difficult to interrupt or shut down without a substantial amount of backup energy storage to maintain the high temperature.

Thereby, there is a need for a low-temperature electrical process compatible with intermittent renewable energy sources for producing pure iron from iron ore for green steel production.

Electra Technology

Electra develops an ore dissolution and iron conversion system that uses renewable energy sources such as solar and wind to enable efficient, low-temperature aqueous metallurgical processes for producing relatively pure metallic iron from various iron source materials, including relatively low-purity iron feedstock materials.

How Electra produces green steel

The diagram below depicts the ore dissolution and iron conversion system.

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