Eliminating 1.7 billion tons of CO2 per year with electrified steelmaking

Boston Metal has developed technology to electrify steelmaking and this could reduce CO2 emissions by 5%.

They would use an electrolytic cell instead of a blast furnace. It would use electricity—rather than carbon—to process raw iron ore.

In steelmaking today, iron oxide is placed into a blast furnace with coke, a hard, porous substance derived from coal. Under high temperatures, the coke turns into carbon monoxide, which plucks oxygen off the iron, producing an intermediate metal known as “pig iron”—along with carbon dioxide that wafts into the atmosphere.

This and other steps in the process pump around 1.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, adding up to around 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emission.

More than 1,000 kg of metal alloys have been produced by Boston Metal since commissioning it’s first reactor.

115 thoughts on “Eliminating 1.7 billion tons of CO2 per year with electrified steelmaking”

  1. Electrolyte: Molten oxides (CaO, MgO, etc) … Temperature: Up to 2000 C” CaO and MgO melting points are above 2600 C. They must be using something else, or mixing it with something that would reduce the melting point.

    Reply
  2. Electrolyte: Molten oxides (CaO MgO” etc) … Temperature: Up to 2000 C””CaO and MgO melting points are above 2600 C. They must be using something else”””” or mixing it with something that would reduce the melting point.”””

    Reply
  3. I’m still waiting for the archaeological evidence of prehistoric coal fired power plants and dinosaur SUVs before calling the cult of AGW “settled science”. This seems driven by a need for grants instead of any real scientific basis.

    Reply
  4. So, let me see… ()since the graphic is funky) …… 2 Fe₂O₃ + e- → 4 Fe ⊕ 3 O₂ And little else, according to the Boston proponents. This is exactly analogous to the aluminum-from-ore electrolytic cycle: …… 2 Al₂O₃ + e- → 4 Al ⊕ 3 O₂ In the diagram, the “inert anode” is graphitic carbon. As the process happens near the white-heat end of things (for iron), that anode has to be quite inert indeed: the evolved oxygen will “burn up” the electrode rather quickly over time. …… C + O₂ → CO₂ + heat Ah, CO₂ again. Which we supposedly were trying to avoid producing. Thing is, the anode has to be relatively inert (so as to last long enough to get a significant puddle of iron, or aluminum, before replacement), quite inexpensive (because they are ‘sacrificial’ and consumed during the smelting process), and at least for electrolytic iron processing, quite refractory (to tolerate the heat without melting or disintigrating shortly after being brought into service). The mix-of-oxides that melt low enough to both conduct electricity and mobilize the produced aluminum was a hugely competitive research enterprise in the late 19th century. A mineral called “cryolite” proved critical as the ‘flux’ that both dissolves aluminum oxide (refined bauxite ore) and carries electricity well for electrolytic dissociation. The cells, similar to the drawing above, run at about 1000° C, and consume the graphite anode only modestly fast. Enough of the oxygen coming off of the electrolytic cells remains unreacted with the C carbon of the anodes. 1000° C is “cherry red”. However, at 1800° C for iron, what would serve as a fairly non-reactive anode? I should read the article. OK, back from reading. Boston Electro proposes the use of a metallic anode, using a high-chromium set of alloys. Chromium notably doesn’t “burn” in oxygen (as iron does, hence how an oxygen cutting torch cuts thru thick steel with nothing more than pressurized oxygen doing the work.) So, maybe that then is the tri

    Reply
  5. I’m still waiting for the archaeological evidence of prehistoric coal fired power plants and dinosaur SUVs before calling the cult of AGW settled science””. This seems driven by a need for grants instead of any real scientific basis.”””

    Reply
  6. So let me see… ()since the graphic is funky)…… 2 Fe₂O₃ + e- → 4 Fe ⊕ 3 O₂And little else according to the Boston proponents. This is exactly analogous to the aluminum-from-ore electrolytic cycle:…… 2 Al₂O₃ + e- → 4 Al ⊕ 3 O₂In the diagram the inert anode”” is graphitic carbon. As the process happens near the white-heat end of things (for iron)”””” that anode has to be quite inert indeed: the evolved oxygen will “”””burn up”””” the electrode rather quickly over time. …… C + O₂ → CO₂ + heatAh”” CO₂ again. Which we supposedly were trying to avoid producing. Thing is the anode has to be relatively inert (so as to last long enough to get a significant puddle of iron or aluminum before replacement) quite inexpensive (because they are ‘sacrificial’ and consumed during the smelting process) and at least for electrolytic iron processing”” quite refractory (to tolerate the heat without melting or disintigrating shortly after being brought into service).The mix-of-oxides that melt low enough to both conduct electricity and mobilize the produced aluminum was a hugely competitive research enterprise in the late 19th century. A mineral called “”””cryolite”””” proved critical as the ‘flux’ that both dissolves aluminum oxide (refined bauxite ore) and carries electricity well for electrolytic dissociation. The cells”” similar to the drawing above run at about 1000° C”” and consume the graphite anode only modestly fast. Enough of the oxygen coming off of the electrolytic cells remains unreacted with the C carbon of the anodes. 1000° C is “”””cherry red””””.However”” at 1800° C for iron what would serve as a fairly non-reactive anode? I should read the article. OK back from reading. Boston Electro proposes the use of a metallic anode”” using a high-chromium set of alloys. Chromium notably doesn’t “”””burn”””” in oxygen (as iron does”” hence how an oxygen cutting torch cuts thru thick steel with nothing more than pressurized oxygen doing the work.)”

    Reply
  7. Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle.” We are in an interglacial period, pal. If anything, we would push the planet into ending that period instead.

    Reply
  8. The fact that the planet has previously going through warming cycles is bad news, not good news. If temperatures had been stable for several hundred million years, we would know there were strong negative feedbacks keeping it stable. Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle. Previous pushes have included orbital variations and extreme volcanic activity. Whether the initial warming is from more sunlight or extra greenhouse gases, once it passes a threshold the positive feedbacks start and the planet warms several degrees further. I’m guessing you’re not actually interested but for anyone else here who wants more information, with multiple lines of geological evidence, Hansen’s book *Storms of My Grandchildren” has a couple chapters that cover it well.

    Reply
  9. Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle.””We are in an interglacial period”” pal. If anything”” we would push the planet into ending that period instead.”””

    Reply
  10. The fact that the planet has previously going through warming cycles is bad news not good news. If temperatures had been stable for several hundred million years we would know there were strong negative feedbacks keeping it stable. Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle.Previous pushes have included orbital variations and extreme volcanic activity. Whether the initial warming is from more sunlight or extra greenhouse gases once it passes a threshold the positive feedbacks start and the planet warms several degrees further.I’m guessing you’re not actually interested but for anyone else here who wants more information with multiple lines of geological evidence Hansen’s book *Storms of My Grandchildren has a couple chapters that cover it well.”

    Reply
  11. The thing is, “pal,” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100,000 years, and CO2 is the highest in at the past 2 million years. The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect, just like turning up the burner on the stove takes time to heat the water. That doesn’t count various positive feedbacks we know about, like ice and permafrost melt. The last time CO2 was this high, temperatures were several degrees higher than now.

    Reply
  12. The efficiency hurdles are indeed complex, but the alloying problem is probably easily solved by delaying it: make mild steel first, or even better: pure elemental iron, then shove it into an induction furnace with finely divided graphite to taste. Induction furnaces are known for being quite efficient and as environmentally friendly as anything in siderurgy can get.

    Reply
  13. … continued: To celebrate religious yearly ceremonies, to plant the fields, take in the harvests. To physik (sic) The King, or his bevy of mistresses. Whatever. Point is, that 100 to 1 or HIGHER was the count of the named, historically recorded also-rans. Those not on this tiny 17th century list. And all of them in turn, honestly or otherwise, employed to make an INCOME in the service that they attempted to mastr. Just as it was later, and later, and later still. Just saying, GoatGuy

    Reply
  14. On the one hand I concur. With your pithy redux: “This seems to be driven by a need for grants (quite outside) any real scientific basis”. Phony-baloney also-ran science has been happening for the entire time that Science itself has been “on the ascendent”. Choose an era: 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, early, middle, late and transitional 1900s-and–2000s. Doesn’t matter which era. Science in the 1600s was in most regards the Transition from the pseudo-science that had gone before, Alchemy, astrology, Physicking(sic), and the rather well developed masons’ arts to realizing and then utilizing the then-revolutionary Scientific Method. In its abstract analytic sense. But living was mostly together cruel, rough, ill-suited for systematic discovery, recording results, publishing them and having others — far more broadly scattered than one’s town — read and reproduce (or critically, falsify-thru-experiment) the results. Though I could write endlessly about the chicanery (trickery) that went on at the time, mostly like today it was from practitioners “hunting for grant money”, or simply, income. Smart people, not trained in anything formal, smart enough over their developing years, to pick up hints of the strange arts that more celebrated contemporaries were plying. Paid well, actually, if one were able to keep one’s head attached to the body. But it wasn’t an Era of Publishing, and then, were that it was, the Quacks weren’t likely to publish their tangled prose any more than a clever otter can write a sonnet. Laid the foundation stones, though this Era did. And the Era definitely had its Elon Musks, its Dr. Hawkings, even its own Einsteins — revolutionizing whatever they touched. • Blaise Pascal – maths, physics, chemistry • Galileo Galilei – astronomy, astrophysics, planetary discovery • Isaac Newton – Calculus invention, maths, physics, natural philosophy • Robert Hooke – Natural Philosopher • Johannes Kepler – Astrometry (note the spelling) • Antoine van Leeuwenh

    Reply
  15. The thing is pal”””” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100″”000 years and CO2 is the highest in at the past 2 million years. The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect just like turning up the burner on the stove takes time to heat the water. That doesn’t count various positive feedbacks we know about like ice and permafrost melt. The last time CO2 was this high”” temperatures were several degrees higher than now.”””

    Reply
  16. The efficiency hurdles are indeed complex but the alloying problem is probably easily solved by delaying it: make mild steel first or even better: pure elemental iron then shove it into an induction furnace with finely divided graphite to taste. Induction furnaces are known for being quite efficient and as environmentally friendly as anything in siderurgy can get.

    Reply
  17. … continued:To celebrate religious yearly ceremonies to plant the fields take in the harvests. To physik (sic) The King or his bevy of mistresses. Whatever. Point is that 100 to 1 or HIGHER was the count of the named historically recorded also-rans. Those not on this tiny 17th century list. And all of them in turn honestly or otherwise employed to make an INCOME in the service that they attempted to mastr. Just as it was later and later and later still.Just sayingGoatGuy

    Reply
  18. On the one hand I concur. With your pithy redux: This seems to be driven by a need for grants (quite outside) any real scientific basis””.Phony-baloney also-ran science has been happening for the entire time that Science itself has been “”””on the ascendent””””. Choose an era: 1600s”” 1700s 1800s early middle late and transitional 1900s-and–2000s. Doesn’t matter which era.Science in the 1600s was in most regards the Transition from the pseudo-science that had gone before Alchemy astrology Physicking(sic) and the rather well developed masons’ arts to realizing and then utilizing the then-revolutionary Scientific Method. In its abstract analytic sense. But living was mostly together cruel rough ill-suited for systematic discovery recording results publishing them and having others — far more broadly scattered than one’s town — read and reproduce (or critically falsify-thru-experiment) the results. Though I could write endlessly about the chicanery (trickery) that went on at the time”” mostly like today it was from practitioners “”””hunting for grant money”””””” or simply income. Smart people not trained in anything formal smart enough over their developing years to pick up hints of the strange arts that more celebrated contemporaries were plying. Paid well actually if one were able to keep one’s head attached to the body. But it wasn’t an Era of Publishing and then were that it was the Quacks weren’t likely to publish their tangled prose any more than a clever otter can write a sonnet. Laid the foundation stones though this Era did. And the Era definitely had its Elon Musks its Dr. Hawkings even its own Einsteins — revolutionizing whatever they touched. • Blaise Pascal – maths physics chemistry• Galileo Galilei – astronomy astrophysics planetary discovery• Isaac Newton – Calculus invention maths physics natural philosophy• Robert Hooke – Natural Philosopher• Johannes Kepler – Astrometry (note the spelling)• Antoine van Leeuwenh”

    Reply
  19. So… it is heated up at some (in)efficiency to make it. Then cast into pigs. Then those are reheated, rolled, powdered in ball mills. Along with graphite bits. Then the whole powdery mess heated in yet another induction furnace. To the molten point, in order to make it voidless… Or below that, for sintering-and-hot-working-compaction Then off to the various form-mills. Rollers, sheets, tubes, bar, beam, wire. Oh, that sounds efficient. As siderurgy can get. Love that though… I learned a new word. Yet its not … “siderophile minerals” I’ve known for some time. To me it feels like the produced steel is going to necessarily be more expensive. Just saying. GoatGuy

    Reply
  20. So… it is heated up at some (in)efficiency to make it.Then cast into pigs. Then those are reheated rolled powdered in ball mills.Along with graphite bits. Then the whole powdery mess heated in yet another induction furnace.To the molten point in order to make it voidless… Or below that for sintering-and-hot-working-compactionThen off to the various form-mills. Rollers sheets tubes bar beam wire. Oh that sounds efficient.As siderurgy can get. Love that though… I learned a new word. Yet its not … siderophile minerals”” I’ve known for some time.To me it feels like the produced steel is going to necessarily be more expensive. Just saying. GoatGuy”””””””

    Reply
  21. Add that steel production is an insignificant part of the CO2 pollution and that most of this energy will come from fossil fuel. Yes this might be nice if you can produce steel at specified quality cheaper, perhaps working better with smaller batches or has other benefits. You want to reduce coal use anyway but again steel production is an minor part of it.

    Reply
  22. Add that steel production is an insignificant part of the CO2 pollution and that most of this energy will come from fossil fuel. Yes this might be nice if you can produce steel at specified quality cheaper perhaps working better with smaller batches or has other benefits. You want to reduce coal use anyway but again steel production is an minor part of it.

    Reply
  23. To wit, the aluminum industry has similar problems, and they are transitioning to trying to keep the aluminum hot from electrolytic cell to product directly in one pass, or at least reduce the number of passes to cut the heating cost. Of note, this is another spinoff from Donald Sadoway’s lab, which also was doing the molten metal battery work, which suggests he miiiight be just a guy with a deep molten materials hobby that somehow got turned into a professorship and money. Not that I’m complaining, as this is still a relatively unexplored area, but I keep expecting him to drop something like a molten metal process to make graphene or something to complete the trifecta.

    Reply
  24. To wit the aluminum industry has similar problems and they are transitioning to trying to keep the aluminum hot from electrolytic cell to product directly in one pass or at least reduce the number of passes to cut the heating cost.Of note this is another spinoff from Donald Sadoway’s lab which also was doing the molten metal battery work which suggests he miiiight be just a guy with a deep molten materials hobby that somehow got turned into a professorship and money. Not that I’m complaining as this is still a relatively unexplored area but I keep expecting him to drop something like a molten metal process to make graphene or something to complete the trifecta.

    Reply
  25. This is basically how you would create Iron on Mars. All the O2 off gasses and nicely vacates your processing building to add a bit more atmosphere to a cold planet. Win-Win. Steel manufacture on Earth is a bit pesky because of all the O2 in the air that really wants to hook up with hot Iron. I came up with this on my own a while ago when thinking through how to do Metal refining on Mars/Moon, didn’t think it was particularly noteworthy for Earth.

    Reply
  26. This is basically how you would create Iron on Mars. All the O2 off gasses and nicely vacates your processing building to add a bit more atmosphere to a cold planet. Win-Win. Steel manufacture on Earth is a bit pesky because of all the O2 in the air that really wants to hook up with hot Iron.I came up with this on my own a while ago when thinking through how to do Metal refining on Mars/Moon didn’t think it was particularly noteworthy for Earth.

    Reply
  27. Releasing the off gas to the atmosphere would be a waste. The amount would be insignificant, unless you were doing it on a huge scale. You’re better off collecting the valuable oxygen for your colony/fuel/etc. The other thing is, there are supposedly metal meteorites lying around on Mars, which should be rich in iron. That may be more convenient for small to medium quantities, though you’d still need to separate the iron from the other components. Another option on Mars and the Moon is to split water, then react the hydrogen with the iron oxides. This should reduce them to iron while recovering the water, and you’d collect the oxygen from the splitting reaction.

    Reply
  28. Releasing the off gas to the atmosphere would be a waste. The amount would be insignificant unless you were doing it on a huge scale. You’re better off collecting the valuable oxygen for your colony/fuel/etc.The other thing is there are supposedly metal meteorites lying around on Mars which should be rich in iron. That may be more convenient for small to medium quantities though you’d still need to separate the iron from the other components.Another option on Mars and the Moon is to split water then react the hydrogen with the iron oxides. This should reduce them to iron while recovering the water and you’d collect the oxygen from the splitting reaction.

    Reply
  29. The thing is, “pal,” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100,000 years” So? Doesn’t have ANY bearing on what is happening with the sun right now. “The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect” So? Adding more CO2 is not going to increase temperatures at the same rate as before. You DID know that, right? Science sure does. And even if it did, we WANT that to happen to help mitigate the effects of the coming mini-ice age.

    Reply
  30. The thing is” “”pal”””””””” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100″”””000 years””””So? Doesn’t have ANY bearing on what is happening with the sun right now.””””The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect””””So? Adding more CO2 is not going to increase temperatures at the same rate as before. You DID know that”” right? Science sure does.And even if it did”” we WANT that to happen to help mitigate the effects of the coming mini-ice age.”””

    Reply
  31. Funny how environmentalists alarmed about CO2 rarely mention the number one source: China. Instead we hear stories about how China is going to change to renewables any day now, just as the government promises. But the Chinese government is lying about the cessation of coal plant construction, as satellite photos show. I guess, though, that since China is only partially capitalist and is an enemy of the US, it gets a CO2 pass. See grist(dot)orgslasharticleslashchina-said-it-was-done-with-these-coal-plants-satellite-imagery-shows-otherwiseslash

    Reply
  32. Funny how environmentalists alarmed about CO2 rarely mention the number one source: China. Instead we hear stories about how China is going to change to renewables any day now just as the government promises.But the Chinese government is lying about the cessation of coal plant construction as satellite photos show. I guess though that since China is only partially capitalist and is an enemy of the US it gets a CO2 pass.See grist(dot)orgslasharticleslashchina-said-it-was-done-with-these-coal-plants-satellite-imagery-shows-otherwiseslash

    Reply
  33. Funny how environmentalists alarmed about CO2 rarely mention the number one source: China. Instead we hear stories about how China is going to change to renewables any day now, just as the government promises. But the Chinese government is lying about the cessation of coal plant construction, as satellite photos show. I guess, though, that since China is only partially capitalist and is an enemy of the US, it gets a CO2 pass. See grist(dot)orgslasharticleslashchina-said-it-was-done-with-these-coal-plants-satellite-imagery-shows-otherwiseslash

    Reply
  34. Funny how environmentalists alarmed about CO2 rarely mention the number one source: China. Instead we hear stories about how China is going to change to renewables any day now just as the government promises.But the Chinese government is lying about the cessation of coal plant construction as satellite photos show. I guess though that since China is only partially capitalist and is an enemy of the US it gets a CO2 pass.See grist(dot)orgslasharticleslashchina-said-it-was-done-with-these-coal-plants-satellite-imagery-shows-otherwiseslash

    Reply
  35. The thing is, “pal,” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100,000 years” So? Doesn’t have ANY bearing on what is happening with the sun right now. “The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect” So? Adding more CO2 is not going to increase temperatures at the same rate as before. You DID know that, right? Science sure does. And even if it did, we WANT that to happen to help mitigate the effects of the coming mini-ice age.

    Reply
  36. The thing is” “”pal”””””””” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100″”””000 years””””So? Doesn’t have ANY bearing on what is happening with the sun right now.””””The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect””””So? Adding more CO2 is not going to increase temperatures at the same rate as before. You DID know that”” right? Science sure does.And even if it did”” we WANT that to happen to help mitigate the effects of the coming mini-ice age.”””

    Reply
  37. Releasing the off gas to the atmosphere would be a waste. The amount would be insignificant, unless you were doing it on a huge scale. You’re better off collecting the valuable oxygen for your colony/fuel/etc. The other thing is, there are supposedly metal meteorites lying around on Mars, which should be rich in iron. That may be more convenient for small to medium quantities, though you’d still need to separate the iron from the other components. Another option on Mars and the Moon is to split water, then react the hydrogen with the iron oxides. This should reduce them to iron while recovering the water, and you’d collect the oxygen from the splitting reaction.

    Reply
  38. Releasing the off gas to the atmosphere would be a waste. The amount would be insignificant unless you were doing it on a huge scale. You’re better off collecting the valuable oxygen for your colony/fuel/etc.The other thing is there are supposedly metal meteorites lying around on Mars which should be rich in iron. That may be more convenient for small to medium quantities though you’d still need to separate the iron from the other components.Another option on Mars and the Moon is to split water then react the hydrogen with the iron oxides. This should reduce them to iron while recovering the water and you’d collect the oxygen from the splitting reaction.

    Reply
  39. This is basically how you would create Iron on Mars. All the O2 off gasses and nicely vacates your processing building to add a bit more atmosphere to a cold planet. Win-Win. Steel manufacture on Earth is a bit pesky because of all the O2 in the air that really wants to hook up with hot Iron. I came up with this on my own a while ago when thinking through how to do Metal refining on Mars/Moon, didn’t think it was particularly noteworthy for Earth.

    Reply
  40. This is basically how you would create Iron on Mars. All the O2 off gasses and nicely vacates your processing building to add a bit more atmosphere to a cold planet. Win-Win. Steel manufacture on Earth is a bit pesky because of all the O2 in the air that really wants to hook up with hot Iron.I came up with this on my own a while ago when thinking through how to do Metal refining on Mars/Moon didn’t think it was particularly noteworthy for Earth.

    Reply
  41. Funny how environmentalists alarmed about CO2 rarely mention the number one source: China. Instead we hear stories about how China is going to change to renewables any day now, just as the government promises.

    But the Chinese government is lying about the cessation of coal plant construction, as satellite photos show. I guess, though, that since China is only partially capitalist and is an enemy of the US, it gets a CO2 pass.

    See grist(dot)orgslasharticleslashchina-said-it-was-done-with-these-coal-plants-satellite-imagery-shows-otherwiseslash

    Reply
  42. “The thing is, “pal,” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100,000 years”

    So? Doesn’t have ANY bearing on what is happening with the sun right now.

    “The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect”

    So? Adding more CO2 is not going to increase temperatures at the same rate as before. You DID know that, right? Science sure does.

    And even if it did, we WANT that to happen to help mitigate the effects of the coming mini-ice age.

    Reply
  43. Releasing the off gas to the atmosphere would be a waste. The amount would be insignificant, unless you were doing it on a huge scale. You’re better off collecting the valuable oxygen for your colony/fuel/etc.

    The other thing is, there are supposedly metal meteorites lying around on Mars, which should be rich in iron. That may be more convenient for small to medium quantities, though you’d still need to separate the iron from the other components.

    Another option on Mars and the Moon is to split water, then react the hydrogen with the iron oxides. This should reduce them to iron while recovering the water, and you’d collect the oxygen from the splitting reaction.

    Reply
  44. This is basically how you would create Iron on Mars. All the O2 off gasses and nicely vacates your processing building to add a bit more atmosphere to a cold planet. Win-Win. Steel manufacture on Earth is a bit pesky because of all the O2 in the air that really wants to hook up with hot Iron.

    I came up with this on my own a while ago when thinking through how to do Metal refining on Mars/Moon, didn’t think it was particularly noteworthy for Earth.

    Reply
  45. To wit, the aluminum industry has similar problems, and they are transitioning to trying to keep the aluminum hot from electrolytic cell to product directly in one pass, or at least reduce the number of passes to cut the heating cost. Of note, this is another spinoff from Donald Sadoway’s lab, which also was doing the molten metal battery work, which suggests he miiiight be just a guy with a deep molten materials hobby that somehow got turned into a professorship and money. Not that I’m complaining, as this is still a relatively unexplored area, but I keep expecting him to drop something like a molten metal process to make graphene or something to complete the trifecta.

    Reply
  46. To wit the aluminum industry has similar problems and they are transitioning to trying to keep the aluminum hot from electrolytic cell to product directly in one pass or at least reduce the number of passes to cut the heating cost.Of note this is another spinoff from Donald Sadoway’s lab which also was doing the molten metal battery work which suggests he miiiight be just a guy with a deep molten materials hobby that somehow got turned into a professorship and money. Not that I’m complaining as this is still a relatively unexplored area but I keep expecting him to drop something like a molten metal process to make graphene or something to complete the trifecta.

    Reply
  47. Add that steel production is an insignificant part of the CO2 pollution and that most of this energy will come from fossil fuel. Yes this might be nice if you can produce steel at specified quality cheaper, perhaps working better with smaller batches or has other benefits. You want to reduce coal use anyway but again steel production is an minor part of it.

    Reply
  48. Add that steel production is an insignificant part of the CO2 pollution and that most of this energy will come from fossil fuel. Yes this might be nice if you can produce steel at specified quality cheaper perhaps working better with smaller batches or has other benefits. You want to reduce coal use anyway but again steel production is an minor part of it.

    Reply
  49. So… it is heated up at some (in)efficiency to make it. Then cast into pigs. Then those are reheated, rolled, powdered in ball mills. Along with graphite bits. Then the whole powdery mess heated in yet another induction furnace. To the molten point, in order to make it voidless… Or below that, for sintering-and-hot-working-compaction Then off to the various form-mills. Rollers, sheets, tubes, bar, beam, wire. Oh, that sounds efficient. As siderurgy can get. Love that though… I learned a new word. Yet its not … “siderophile minerals” I’ve known for some time. To me it feels like the produced steel is going to necessarily be more expensive. Just saying. GoatGuy

    Reply
  50. So… it is heated up at some (in)efficiency to make it.Then cast into pigs. Then those are reheated rolled powdered in ball mills.Along with graphite bits. Then the whole powdery mess heated in yet another induction furnace.To the molten point in order to make it voidless… Or below that for sintering-and-hot-working-compactionThen off to the various form-mills. Rollers sheets tubes bar beam wire. Oh that sounds efficient.As siderurgy can get. Love that though… I learned a new word. Yet its not … siderophile minerals”” I’ve known for some time.To me it feels like the produced steel is going to necessarily be more expensive. Just saying. GoatGuy”””””””

    Reply
  51. The thing is, “pal,” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100,000 years, and CO2 is the highest in at the past 2 million years. The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect, just like turning up the burner on the stove takes time to heat the water. That doesn’t count various positive feedbacks we know about, like ice and permafrost melt. The last time CO2 was this high, temperatures were several degrees higher than now.

    Reply
  52. The thing is pal”””” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100″”000 years and CO2 is the highest in at the past 2 million years. The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect just like turning up the burner on the stove takes time to heat the water. That doesn’t count various positive feedbacks we know about like ice and permafrost melt. The last time CO2 was this high”” temperatures were several degrees higher than now.”””

    Reply
  53. The efficiency hurdles are indeed complex, but the alloying problem is probably easily solved by delaying it: make mild steel first, or even better: pure elemental iron, then shove it into an induction furnace with finely divided graphite to taste. Induction furnaces are known for being quite efficient and as environmentally friendly as anything in siderurgy can get.

    Reply
  54. The efficiency hurdles are indeed complex but the alloying problem is probably easily solved by delaying it: make mild steel first or even better: pure elemental iron then shove it into an induction furnace with finely divided graphite to taste. Induction furnaces are known for being quite efficient and as environmentally friendly as anything in siderurgy can get.

    Reply
  55. … continued: To celebrate religious yearly ceremonies, to plant the fields, take in the harvests. To physik (sic) The King, or his bevy of mistresses. Whatever. Point is, that 100 to 1 or HIGHER was the count of the named, historically recorded also-rans. Those not on this tiny 17th century list. And all of them in turn, honestly or otherwise, employed to make an INCOME in the service that they attempted to mastr. Just as it was later, and later, and later still. Just saying, GoatGuy

    Reply
  56. … continued:To celebrate religious yearly ceremonies to plant the fields take in the harvests. To physik (sic) The King or his bevy of mistresses. Whatever. Point is that 100 to 1 or HIGHER was the count of the named historically recorded also-rans. Those not on this tiny 17th century list. And all of them in turn honestly or otherwise employed to make an INCOME in the service that they attempted to mastr. Just as it was later and later and later still.Just sayingGoatGuy

    Reply
  57. On the one hand I concur. With your pithy redux: “This seems to be driven by a need for grants (quite outside) any real scientific basis”. Phony-baloney also-ran science has been happening for the entire time that Science itself has been “on the ascendent”. Choose an era: 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, early, middle, late and transitional 1900s-and–2000s. Doesn’t matter which era. Science in the 1600s was in most regards the Transition from the pseudo-science that had gone before, Alchemy, astrology, Physicking(sic), and the rather well developed masons’ arts to realizing and then utilizing the then-revolutionary Scientific Method. In its abstract analytic sense. But living was mostly together cruel, rough, ill-suited for systematic discovery, recording results, publishing them and having others — far more broadly scattered than one’s town — read and reproduce (or critically, falsify-thru-experiment) the results. Though I could write endlessly about the chicanery (trickery) that went on at the time, mostly like today it was from practitioners “hunting for grant money”, or simply, income. Smart people, not trained in anything formal, smart enough over their developing years, to pick up hints of the strange arts that more celebrated contemporaries were plying. Paid well, actually, if one were able to keep one’s head attached to the body. But it wasn’t an Era of Publishing, and then, were that it was, the Quacks weren’t likely to publish their tangled prose any more than a clever otter can write a sonnet. Laid the foundation stones, though this Era did. And the Era definitely had its Elon Musks, its Dr. Hawkings, even its own Einsteins — revolutionizing whatever they touched. • Blaise Pascal – maths, physics, chemistry • Galileo Galilei – astronomy, astrophysics, planetary discovery • Isaac Newton – Calculus invention, maths, physics, natural philosophy • Robert Hooke – Natural Philosopher • Johannes Kepler – Astrometry (note the spelling) • Antoine van Leeuwenh

    Reply
  58. On the one hand I concur. With your pithy redux: This seems to be driven by a need for grants (quite outside) any real scientific basis””.Phony-baloney also-ran science has been happening for the entire time that Science itself has been “”””on the ascendent””””. Choose an era: 1600s”” 1700s 1800s early middle late and transitional 1900s-and–2000s. Doesn’t matter which era.Science in the 1600s was in most regards the Transition from the pseudo-science that had gone before Alchemy astrology Physicking(sic) and the rather well developed masons’ arts to realizing and then utilizing the then-revolutionary Scientific Method. In its abstract analytic sense. But living was mostly together cruel rough ill-suited for systematic discovery recording results publishing them and having others — far more broadly scattered than one’s town — read and reproduce (or critically falsify-thru-experiment) the results. Though I could write endlessly about the chicanery (trickery) that went on at the time”” mostly like today it was from practitioners “”””hunting for grant money”””””” or simply income. Smart people not trained in anything formal smart enough over their developing years to pick up hints of the strange arts that more celebrated contemporaries were plying. Paid well actually if one were able to keep one’s head attached to the body. But it wasn’t an Era of Publishing and then were that it was the Quacks weren’t likely to publish their tangled prose any more than a clever otter can write a sonnet. Laid the foundation stones though this Era did. And the Era definitely had its Elon Musks its Dr. Hawkings even its own Einsteins — revolutionizing whatever they touched. • Blaise Pascal – maths physics chemistry• Galileo Galilei – astronomy astrophysics planetary discovery• Isaac Newton – Calculus invention maths physics natural philosophy• Robert Hooke – Natural Philosopher• Johannes Kepler – Astrometry (note the spelling)• Antoine van Leeuwenh”

    Reply
  59. Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle.” We are in an interglacial period, pal. If anything, we would push the planet into ending that period instead.

    Reply
  60. Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle.””We are in an interglacial period”” pal. If anything”” we would push the planet into ending that period instead.”””

    Reply
  61. The fact that the planet has previously going through warming cycles is bad news, not good news. If temperatures had been stable for several hundred million years, we would know there were strong negative feedbacks keeping it stable. Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle. Previous pushes have included orbital variations and extreme volcanic activity. Whether the initial warming is from more sunlight or extra greenhouse gases, once it passes a threshold the positive feedbacks start and the planet warms several degrees further. I’m guessing you’re not actually interested but for anyone else here who wants more information, with multiple lines of geological evidence, Hansen’s book *Storms of My Grandchildren” has a couple chapters that cover it well.

    Reply
  62. The fact that the planet has previously going through warming cycles is bad news not good news. If temperatures had been stable for several hundred million years we would know there were strong negative feedbacks keeping it stable. Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle.Previous pushes have included orbital variations and extreme volcanic activity. Whether the initial warming is from more sunlight or extra greenhouse gases once it passes a threshold the positive feedbacks start and the planet warms several degrees further.I’m guessing you’re not actually interested but for anyone else here who wants more information with multiple lines of geological evidence Hansen’s book *Storms of My Grandchildren has a couple chapters that cover it well.”

    Reply
  63. I’m still waiting for the archaeological evidence of prehistoric coal fired power plants and dinosaur SUVs before calling the cult of AGW “settled science”. This seems driven by a need for grants instead of any real scientific basis.

    Reply
  64. I’m still waiting for the archaeological evidence of prehistoric coal fired power plants and dinosaur SUVs before calling the cult of AGW settled science””. This seems driven by a need for grants instead of any real scientific basis.”””

    Reply
  65. So, let me see… ()since the graphic is funky) …… 2 Fe₂O₃ + e- → 4 Fe ⊕ 3 O₂ And little else, according to the Boston proponents. This is exactly analogous to the aluminum-from-ore electrolytic cycle: …… 2 Al₂O₃ + e- → 4 Al ⊕ 3 O₂ In the diagram, the “inert anode” is graphitic carbon. As the process happens near the white-heat end of things (for iron), that anode has to be quite inert indeed: the evolved oxygen will “burn up” the electrode rather quickly over time. …… C + O₂ → CO₂ + heat Ah, CO₂ again. Which we supposedly were trying to avoid producing. Thing is, the anode has to be relatively inert (so as to last long enough to get a significant puddle of iron, or aluminum, before replacement), quite inexpensive (because they are ‘sacrificial’ and consumed during the smelting process), and at least for electrolytic iron processing, quite refractory (to tolerate the heat without melting or disintigrating shortly after being brought into service). The mix-of-oxides that melt low enough to both conduct electricity and mobilize the produced aluminum was a hugely competitive research enterprise in the late 19th century. A mineral called “cryolite” proved critical as the ‘flux’ that both dissolves aluminum oxide (refined bauxite ore) and carries electricity well for electrolytic dissociation. The cells, similar to the drawing above, run at about 1000° C, and consume the graphite anode only modestly fast. Enough of the oxygen coming off of the electrolytic cells remains unreacted with the C carbon of the anodes. 1000° C is “cherry red”. However, at 1800° C for iron, what would serve as a fairly non-reactive anode? I should read the article. OK, back from reading. Boston Electro proposes the use of a metallic anode, using a high-chromium set of alloys. Chromium notably doesn’t “burn” in oxygen (as iron does, hence how an oxygen cutting torch cuts thru thick steel with nothing more than pressurized oxygen doing the work.) So, maybe that then is the tri

    Reply
  66. So let me see… ()since the graphic is funky)…… 2 Fe₂O₃ + e- → 4 Fe ⊕ 3 O₂And little else according to the Boston proponents. This is exactly analogous to the aluminum-from-ore electrolytic cycle:…… 2 Al₂O₃ + e- → 4 Al ⊕ 3 O₂In the diagram the inert anode”” is graphitic carbon. As the process happens near the white-heat end of things (for iron)”””” that anode has to be quite inert indeed: the evolved oxygen will “”””burn up”””” the electrode rather quickly over time. …… C + O₂ → CO₂ + heatAh”” CO₂ again. Which we supposedly were trying to avoid producing. Thing is the anode has to be relatively inert (so as to last long enough to get a significant puddle of iron or aluminum before replacement) quite inexpensive (because they are ‘sacrificial’ and consumed during the smelting process) and at least for electrolytic iron processing”” quite refractory (to tolerate the heat without melting or disintigrating shortly after being brought into service).The mix-of-oxides that melt low enough to both conduct electricity and mobilize the produced aluminum was a hugely competitive research enterprise in the late 19th century. A mineral called “”””cryolite”””” proved critical as the ‘flux’ that both dissolves aluminum oxide (refined bauxite ore) and carries electricity well for electrolytic dissociation. The cells”” similar to the drawing above run at about 1000° C”” and consume the graphite anode only modestly fast. Enough of the oxygen coming off of the electrolytic cells remains unreacted with the C carbon of the anodes. 1000° C is “”””cherry red””””.However”” at 1800° C for iron what would serve as a fairly non-reactive anode? I should read the article. OK back from reading. Boston Electro proposes the use of a metallic anode”” using a high-chromium set of alloys. Chromium notably doesn’t “”””burn”””” in oxygen (as iron does”” hence how an oxygen cutting torch cuts thru thick steel with nothing more than pressurized oxygen doing the work.)”

    Reply
  67. To wit, the aluminum industry has similar problems, and they are transitioning to trying to keep the aluminum hot from electrolytic cell to product directly in one pass, or at least reduce the number of passes to cut the heating cost.

    Of note, this is another spinoff from Donald Sadoway’s lab, which also was doing the molten metal battery work, which suggests he miiiight be just a guy with a deep molten materials hobby that somehow got turned into a professorship and money. Not that I’m complaining, as this is still a relatively unexplored area, but I keep expecting him to drop something like a molten metal process to make graphene or something to complete the trifecta.

    Reply
  68. Electrolyte: Molten oxides (CaO, MgO, etc) … Temperature: Up to 2000 C” CaO and MgO melting points are above 2600 C. They must be using something else, or mixing it with something that would reduce the melting point.

    Reply
  69. Electrolyte: Molten oxides (CaO MgO” etc) … Temperature: Up to 2000 C””CaO and MgO melting points are above 2600 C. They must be using something else”””” or mixing it with something that would reduce the melting point.”””

    Reply
  70. Add that steel production is an insignificant part of the CO2 pollution and that most of this energy will come from fossil fuel.
    Yes this might be nice if you can produce steel at specified quality cheaper, perhaps working better with smaller batches or has other benefits. You want to reduce coal use anyway but again steel production is an minor part of it.

    Reply
  71. So… it is heated up at some (in)efficiency to make it.
    Then cast into pigs.
    Then those are reheated, rolled, powdered in ball mills.
    Along with graphite bits.
    Then the whole powdery mess heated in yet another induction furnace.
    To the molten point, in order to make it voidless…
    Or below that, for sintering-and-hot-working-compaction
    Then off to the various form-mills. Rollers, sheets, tubes, bar, beam, wire.

    Oh, that sounds efficient.
    As siderurgy can get.
    Love that though… I learned a new word.
    Yet its not … “siderophile minerals” I’ve known for some time.

    To me it feels like the produced steel is going to necessarily be more expensive.
    Just saying.

    GoatGuy

    Reply
  72. The thing is, “pal,” we’re currently the warmest in the past 100,000 years, and CO2 is the highest in at the past 2 million years. The warming effect of CO2 takes about 30 years to reach its full effect, just like turning up the burner on the stove takes time to heat the water. That doesn’t count various positive feedbacks we know about, like ice and permafrost melt. The last time CO2 was this high, temperatures were several degrees higher than now.

    Reply
  73. The efficiency hurdles are indeed complex, but the alloying problem is probably easily solved by delaying it: make mild steel first, or even better: pure elemental iron, then shove it into an induction furnace with finely divided graphite to taste. Induction furnaces are known for being quite efficient and as environmentally friendly as anything in siderurgy can get.

    Reply
  74. … continued:

    To celebrate religious yearly ceremonies, to plant the fields, take in the harvests. To physik (sic) The King, or his bevy of mistresses. Whatever.

    Point is, that 100 to 1 or HIGHER was the count of the named, historically recorded also-rans. Those not on this tiny 17th century list. And all of them in turn, honestly or otherwise, employed to make an INCOME in the service that they attempted to mastr.

    Just as it was later, and later, and later still.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

    Reply
  75. On the one hand I concur. With your pithy redux: “This seems to be driven by a need for grants (quite outside) any real scientific basis”.

    Phony-baloney also-ran science has been happening for the entire time that Science itself has been “on the ascendent”. Choose an era: 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, early, middle, late and transitional 1900s-and–2000s. Doesn’t matter which era.

    Science in the 1600s was in most regards the Transition from the pseudo-science that had gone before, Alchemy, astrology, Physicking(sic), and the rather well developed masons’ arts to realizing and then utilizing the then-revolutionary Scientific Method. In its abstract analytic sense. But living was mostly together cruel, rough, ill-suited for systematic discovery, recording results, publishing them and having others — far more broadly scattered than one’s town — read and reproduce (or critically, falsify-thru-experiment) the results.

    Though I could write endlessly about the chicanery (trickery) that went on at the time, mostly like today it was from practitioners “hunting for grant money”, or simply, income. Smart people, not trained in anything formal, smart enough over their developing years, to pick up hints of the strange arts that more celebrated contemporaries were plying. Paid well, actually, if one were able to keep one’s head attached to the body. But it wasn’t an Era of Publishing, and then, were that it was, the Quacks weren’t likely to publish their tangled prose any more than a clever otter can write a sonnet.

    Laid the foundation stones, though this Era did. And the Era definitely had its Elon Musks, its Dr. Hawkings, even its own Einsteins — revolutionizing whatever they touched.

    • Blaise Pascal – maths, physics, chemistry
    • Galileo Galilei – astronomy, astrophysics, planetary discovery
    • Isaac Newton – Calculus invention, maths, physics, natural philosophy
    • Robert Hooke – Natural Philosopher
    • Johannes Kepler – Astrometry (note the spelling)
    • Antoine van Leeuwenhoek – microscopy
    • Robert Boyle – physics of gasses
    • Christian Huygens – Astronomy, maths, chemistry
    • Pierre de Fermat – math, utterly brilliant number theory
    • Johan Bernoulli – physics of gasses, vacuums
    • Edmond Haley – astronomy, comets
    • Evangelico Torricelli – more on vacuums
    • Giovani Cassini – astronomy
    • Rene Descartes – philosophy, sociology
    • Gottfried Leibniz – outstanding calculus progress
    • Daniel Fahrenheit – temperature, heat, energy
    • Margaret Cavendish – chemistry
    • Marin Mersenne – number theory, maths
    • Ole Romer – heat energy, engineering failure analysis
    • Giovani Cassini – astronomy, planetary motion, high math

    And that’s the “short list” of the 17th century. Yet think about it — apart from these 20 people, how many thousands were silently in the employ of Kings, Dukes, Earls, Magnates, Bishops and Popes in courtly service. Divining “auspicioius” times and dates to perform mystical acts. To celebrate religious yearly ceremonies, to plant the fields, take in

    Reply
  76. “Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle.”

    We are in an interglacial period, pal. If anything, we would push the planet into ending that period instead.

    Reply
  77. The fact that the planet has previously going through warming cycles is bad news, not good news. If temperatures had been stable for several hundred million years, we would know there were strong negative feedbacks keeping it stable. Instead what we see is that it doesn’t take much of a push to tip the planet into a warming cycle.

    Previous pushes have included orbital variations and extreme volcanic activity. Whether the initial warming is from more sunlight or extra greenhouse gases, once it passes a threshold the positive feedbacks start and the planet warms several degrees further.

    I’m guessing you’re not actually interested but for anyone else here who wants more information, with multiple lines of geological evidence, Hansen’s book *Storms of My Grandchildren” has a couple chapters that cover it well.

    Reply
  78. I’m still waiting for the archaeological evidence of prehistoric coal fired power plants and dinosaur SUVs before calling the cult of AGW “settled science”. This seems driven by a need for grants instead of any real scientific basis.

    Reply
  79. So, let me see… ()since the graphic is funky)

    …… 2 Fe₂O₃ + e- → 4 Fe ⊕ 3 O₂

    And little else, according to the Boston proponents. This is exactly analogous to the aluminum-from-ore electrolytic cycle:

    …… 2 Al₂O₃ + e- → 4 Al ⊕ 3 O₂

    In the diagram, the “inert anode” is graphitic carbon. As the process happens near the white-heat end of things (for iron), that anode has to be quite inert indeed: the evolved oxygen will “burn up” the electrode rather quickly over time.

    …… C + O₂ → CO₂ + heat

    Ah, CO₂ again. Which we supposedly were trying to avoid producing. Thing is, the anode has to be relatively inert (so as to last long enough to get a significant puddle of iron, or aluminum, before replacement), quite inexpensive (because they are ‘sacrificial’ and consumed during the smelting process), and at least for electrolytic iron processing, quite refractory (to tolerate the heat without melting or disintigrating shortly after being brought into service).

    The mix-of-oxides that melt low enough to both conduct electricity and mobilize the produced aluminum was a hugely competitive research enterprise in the late 19th century. A mineral called “cryolite” proved critical as the ‘flux’ that both dissolves aluminum oxide (refined bauxite ore) and carries electricity well for electrolytic dissociation. The cells, similar to the drawing above, run at about 1000° C, and consume the graphite anode only modestly fast. Enough of the oxygen coming off of the electrolytic cells remains unreacted with the C carbon of the anodes. 1000° C is “cherry red”.

    However, at 1800° C for iron, what would serve as a fairly non-reactive anode? I should read the article.

    OK, back from reading. Boston Electro proposes the use of a metallic anode, using a high-chromium set of alloys. Chromium notably doesn’t “burn” in oxygen (as iron does, hence how an oxygen cutting torch cuts thru thick steel with nothing more than pressurized oxygen doing the work.)

    So, maybe that then is the trick. A NON-consumable anode. Expensive? You bet!

    As the article’s narrator cheekily squeezes in near the end, “Carneiro acknowledges that the company still must surmount a number of remaining technical challenges, including improving the “faradaic efficiency,” which means increasing the percentage of electrons that actually produce metal; enhancing thermal efficiency, or reducing the kilowatt-hours of electricity required to produce a given volume of metal; and scaling up a chromium alloy anode that’s only been demonstrated at the lab level to date.”

    Ahem… yes, that’d be the problem. In a nutshell. Efficiency. kWh/kg of iron. And alloying it with enough carbon to make convincing steel. And scaling to industrial proportions. And demonstrating it really is competitive — all in — with mixing coke, ore and limestone to make conventional pig iron.

    Hurdles.
    GoatGuy

    Reply
  80. “Electrolyte: Molten oxides (CaO, MgO, etc) … Temperature: Up to 2000 C”

    CaO and MgO melting points are above 2600 C. They must be using something else, or mixing it with something that would reduce the melting point.

    Reply

Leave a Comment