Iran; largest producer of DRI using natural gas

The main methods of steel production are as follows:
1- Consuming scraps in electric arc furnaces
2- Using iron ore and iron ore concentrate

In the second method, two methods are used:
2-1- Blast Furnace - Oxygen Converters, FINEX and ITM3
2-2- DRI method - steel making (electric arc furnace)
More than one billion and six hundred million tons of steel was produced in 2016 all over the world, however, only 72.67 million tons of which have been produced by DRI method.
The main reason that encourages the countries to use the blast furnace or direct reduction method is the price and access to coke and natural gas.
Thus, the production of steel by using natural gas and direct reduction method is only justifiable in countries where natural gas is sufficient and inexpensive. Since Iran has the second largest natural gas reserve in the world, steel production through direct reduction method has been considered since the 1970s. So, comprehensive studies have been carried out since then.
Leading technologies at that time were MIDREX, HYL1 and Prüfer. The current Khouzestan Steel Company was selected to carry out a pilot project in the country. So, they could develop and operate these three methods in the company to choose the appropriate method.
The 1979 revolution, withdrawal of foreign experts, and the imposed war against Iran caused a delay in the installation and operation of these units. Launching the units, the Prüfer unit did not have the required performance, and the HYL1 modules also encountered a problem.
(New developments in HYLI technology kept it working in the industry. The method produced equivalent to 17.4% of the world’s DRI production in the world in 2016). Subsequently, the only technology that was exploited in Iran was MIDREX. The technology also installed and employed in Mobarakeh Steel Company, as well.
According to the MIDREX annual report, Iran, followed by India and the United States, has the most significant growth in the production of sponge iron in the world in 2016.
The largest DRI producing countries are India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Mexico.
The DRI production table in these countries is as follows:
These five countries produced a total of 71% of the world’s DRI in 2016.


DRI production


India’s two-thirds of DRI is produced by the ROTARY KILN method, which uses coal instead of natural gas. Also, the Middle East produces 34.19% of the world’s DRI. Producing 16.01 million tons of DRI, Iran is the largest producer of DRI by natural gas.
Upon launching 800,000-ton module of Persian Reduction (PERED) in Shadegan, Neyriz, and Miane steel units (each with a capacity of 800,000 tons), the country’s DRI production capacity will reach 19 million tons. Currently, Mobarakeh Steel CO. is the world’s largest producer of sponge iron. Also, producing 3.2 million tons of steel by this method (without considering the plants of Saba and Hormozgan), the company has the highest production capacity of sponge iron under one roof in the world.
Iran is the largest producer of sponge iron by natural gas. Also, launching new units, it will be the most significant producer of sponge iron in 2017 (regardless of its method). Consequently, it needs the best technology, experience, and innovation in the industry.
Therefore, the technology of constructing Direct-Reduction units has been indigenized, and each new unit will reach its nominal capacity in the first one or two months.
Given the production of sponge iron by PERED method in Shadegan and using the same method at the Neyriz plant, the PERED technology will be considered as a DRI production unit as well (which has been registered in Iran and Germany as an Iranian company). So, it will be well recognized among the known methods of DRI production.