Emission-free iron – level 3

18-10-2022 07:00

The world uses a lot of steel, and the process to make steel releases more planet-warming gases than all of India does in a year.

The process to make steel has stayed similar to the process from thousands of years ago. The process burns cobs of coal with iron ore from mines. A violent chemical reaction uses carbon from coal to remove unwanted oxygen from the iron ore, which releases iron metal. This process produces billions of tons of carbon dioxide.

A Colorado-based company Elektra says it found a solution to that problem. Its solution uses renewable electricity from solar panels or wind turbines instead of coal, and it powers the removal of oxygen from iron ore through electricity. Such a reaction can run at a cooler temperature, and it cuts 90% of the emissions to make steel.

Difficult words: cob (a small mass of something), ore (a rock or soil that contains metal), renewable (natural energy sources that are always available).

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