Steel 360 spoke to Mr. Satyendra Kumar Sarna, Former MD, NINL and a veteran of steel industry, about growing use of Pellets in India and its future.
Excerpts of the interview taken by Steel 360:
Q. Apparently recovery from Pellet Sponge is lesser than Iron ore sponge and that is why the secondary stand alone manufacturers prefer sponge iron over pellet sponge. Is it a myth or a fact? If it is a fact then how can recovery from pellet sponge are improved?
Except for in India, major feed material all over the world for DRI plants is DR grade pellet and DRI produced from these plants is used in EAFs/IFs with very good yields. The factors affecting the yield during steel making from DRI are Degree of Metallization – with higher metallization, the yield will be better Total Fe content in the DRI – Higher is the Fe content in the DRI, better will be the yield during steelmaking Per cent of non metallics (Char etc.) not separated from the product – This affects the yield adversely Percent of Gangue in the DRI – Higher is the Gangue in DRI, the yield during steel making will be lower If these parameters are same in both the types of sponge irons (Pellet sponge and ore sponge) then the yield during steel making will be the same.
DRI produced from pellets has the following added advantages:
- Product is of uniform size
- Lesser disintegration into fines during transportation and hence lower handling loss
Q. India is mostly manufacturing 62-63 grade of Pellet. While the international average grade being used in around 65 & above. Considering this, will India be able to export pellets when excess in capacity?
Globally, Pellets users broadly fall in two categories
i) DRI producers who are usually producing DRI by gas based processes and
ii) Blast furnace operators
The first category users will not accept grades with Fe content of 65% and less. This is because their product goes for steel making and lower percentage of Fe will have big adverse effect on the yield. The blast furnace operators can technically accept pellets with Fe 62-63%, but this will result into higher coke rate and higher slag volumes in the blast furnace. This in turn means higher production costs at the blast furnace. Further, for use in blast furnaces BF grade pellets are required. They are fluxed pellets with higher Basicity and different from DRI pellets which are acid pellets.