Vale informs that it signed a MOU with the Port of Açu to study the development of a Mega Hub at the port located in São João da Barra in the state of Rio de Janeiro, to produce HBI (hot briquetted iron) using the direct reduction route.
The Mega Hub will initially receive pellets from Vale and could, in the future, include an iron ore briquette plant at site to supply the direct reduction route at the industrial complex. According to the agreement, both companies will seek to attract investors and clients to build and operate the Direct Reduction plant using natural gas which will be available at the port, with the possibility of eventually converting to green hydrogen, producing HBI with near-zero carbon emissions.
It is a pioneer initiative that considers a technical study coordinated by the Port of Açu and sectorial academics which proposes the use of HBI as partial burden in blast-furnaces, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing steelmaking productivity without needing to substitute existing assets, such as the blast-furnaces and steelworks. Currently, HBI is mostly used in electric arc furnaces. Using HBI in this type of furnace will enable a smoother decarbonization process for the Brazilian steelmaking industry.
The agreement with the Port of Açu marks another step in the development of Mega Hubs in Brazil. Mega Hubs are industrial complexes designed to produce low-carbon steel products and Vale has already begun implanting such hubs in three countries in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman).
“We believe that Brazil has a lot of potential to be a low-carbon steel making hub. We have high-quality iron ore, abundant natural gas reserves and the potential to develop green hydrogen. As a Brazilian company, Vale is seeking to partner with other entities that can add value to this process. We want to foster “neo-industrialization” in Brazil, a green-based industrialization”, says Marcello Spinelli, vice-president of iron ore solutions.
“The signing of this partnership demonstrates the full industrialization potential of the Port of Açu, confirming its vocation as the port of energy transition in Brazil. We believe that the Port of Açu, with its unique port infrastructure in the country, strategic location and potential for the most competitive prices of Brazilian natural gas, has unique characteristics to contribute, together with Vale, to the decarbonization of the domestic and international steel industry,” says José Firmo, CEO of the Port of Açu.
“Brazil is one of the most important iron ore and steel producers in the world and Vale is a leading player in this market. The use of HBI in blast furnaces could cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 25%, with even greater potential reductions along the chain, which would put the industry in line with the emission reduction targets by 2030. With the Port of Açu as the gateway to zero-carbon industrialization projects, all the conditions and analyses point to the country becoming a major producer of HBI, supplying steel mills all over the world,” says Albano Vieira, consultant for steel and mining issues at Prumo, the holding company that develops the Port of Açu.
Vale is a global mining company that exists to improve lives and transform the future together. One of the world’s largest producers of iron ore and nickel and an important copper producer, Vale is headquartered in Brazil and operates around the world. Its operations comprise integrated logistics systems, including approximately 2,000 kilometers of railroads, maritime terminals and 10 ports around the world. Vale’s ambition is to be recognized by society as a benchmark in safety, the best and most reliable operator, a talent-oriented organization, a leader in sustainable mining, and a reference in value creation and sharing.”