Starting a New Chapter

Will DempseyChief Operating Officer

Articles by Will
bucket of steel

It’s an exhilarating time to be in the iron and steel industry.

Steel is vital to global industrial progress and for creating opportunities to improve economic conditions throughout the world. However, finding a way to make iron and steel that protects the environment is key to improving the overall quality of life.

My years of experience as a Midrex process engineer and most recently as engineering director have prepared me well to continue the strong technical focus of our commercial activities as we help decarbonize iron and steelmaking through the implementation of innovative direct reduction technology.

Some form of direct reduction has been around for thousands of years but it only became a modern ironmaking method in the second half of the 20th century. Initially, direct reduced iron (DRI) was seen as an alternative metallic for making basic steel grades in electric arc furnace (EAF)-based mini-mills. However, the flexibility and economies-of-scale of the EAF led to its expansion into the realm of flat-rolled steel, once the private domain of traditional integrated steelmaking. Today, EAFs make up close to 30% of global steel production and are producing the highest grades of steel.

Along the way, it became clear that the EAF produced “cleaner” steel relative to CO2 emissions due to its use of scrap and DRI in place of coal and coke. Most steel industry experts point to the scrap/DRI-based EAF route as the key to achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goals by 2050.

Midrex can provide solutions for reducing CO2 emissions for EAF operators, as well as blast furnace/basic oxygen furnaces (BF/BOF). In my engineering role, I was closely involved in development of the technology for transitioning the natural gas-based MIDREX® Process (MIDREX NG™️), which has demonstrated the reduction of iron oxide with up to 70% hydrogen, to MIDREX H2™️ that can be operated on 100% hydrogen. Likewise, we have worked with our Construction Partners and Kobe Steel, Ltd., our parent company, to advance the use of hot briquetted iron (HBI) in the BF/BOF, as a means to extend their operational life and to help improve their environmental sustainability.

So, I want to introduce myself to those of you who may not have known me in my previous engineering roles at Midrex, and say that I look forward to working with many of you in exploring the ways that MIDREX Direct Reduction Technology can be instrumental in decarbonize the global iron and steel industry.

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