In the Finex process, fine iron ore is directly charged at the top of a cascade of fluidized-bed reactors, where it is heated and reduced to direct-reduced iron (DRI) by means of a reduction gas derived from the gasification of the coal in the melter gasifier. The DRI fines are processed into hot-compacted iron, transferred in hot condition to a charging bin positioned above the melter gasifier, and then charged into the melter gasifier, where melting takes place. The tapped product – liquid hot metal is equivalent in quality to the hot metal produced in a blast furnace or Corex plant.
The unique characteristics of the Finex process and its ability to use low-cost raw materials (fine ore and low-cost coal) mean that both capital investment and production costs are considerably lower compared with the blast furnace route. A 1.5 million-ton-per-year Finex plant produces hot metal more cost-effectively than a modern 3 million-ton-per-year blast furnace. Also considering oxygen and power plants, the capital of a Finex plant is approximately 20% and the operating cost about 15% lower compared with the blast furnace route.
With direct charging of iron ore and coal, environmental compatibility is much higher compared to the blast furnace route, which consists of coke oven plant, sinter plant, and the blast furnace itself. Finex already complies with the most stringent environmental laws applicable to the ironmaking industry.
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Fig.1- MERIM plant layout
POSCO Pohang Works , Korea
Finex® F-2.0M Plant
Following the successful implementation of the FINEX F-1.5M plant in 2007, POSCO decided to take things to the next level by installing the Finex F-2.0M plant, with a capacity of 2.0 million tons of hot metal. The Finex F-2.0M plant successfully commenced operation in January 2014. Based on an optimized design and improved operation, the Finex F-2.0M represents the next step in cutting-edge hot metal production, minimizing investment and operational costs, while maximizing environmental efficiency. In terms of cost-effectiveness, the Finex F-2.0M plant even surpasses the POSCO blast furnaces, which are considered among the most modern and economic blast furnaces in the world.