[Ferro-Alloys.com] Boston Metal, a clean energy start-up, is revolutionizing the steel industry by developing a process called “molten oxide electrolysis” (MOE) to decarbonize steelmaking. Unlike conventional steel operations, MOE does not rely on fossil fuels and eliminates the need for large electrolyzers to produce hydrogen. This innovative approach involves using electric currents to heat iron ore to extremely high temperatures, around 1,600 degrees Celsius, which drives chemical reactions. The resulting material cools into blocks of steel.
Furthermore, the MOE process can also extract high-value metals such as chrome, manganese, and niobium from mine-waste tailings, reducing the need for direct mining. Boston Metal’s Brazilian subsidiary is building the first commercial-scale facility using MOE technology, with an initial focus on producing high-value metals. The extracted metals will be sold to steelmakers as additives to strengthen or make steel corrosion-resistant.
The Brazilian plant is expected to start operations in the coming year and will produce 10,000 metric tons per year of niobium by 2026. By initially targeting smaller-volume plants with higher-value metals and margins, Boston Metal aims to establish the MOE technology in the market. The company recognizes the challenge of competing with global incumbents given the low price of crude steel compared to high-value metals.
In addition to its high-value metals business, Boston Metal is also working to refine and scale its steel-focused operations. A demonstration plant in the Boston area is expected to come online in 2026. This significant progress in developing the MOE technology has garnered recognition from Breakthrough Energy, which continues to invest in Boston Metal’s mission to decarbonize steelmaking.
Boston Metal’s innovative approach has the potential to make a substantial impact in addressing the world’s pressing climate problems. It represents a step towards a greener and more sustainable steel industry, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and diminishing the reliance on fossil fuels.
– World Steel Association (no URL)
– Boston Metal statement (no URL)