HBI for optimized handling

Following its industrial development in the 70s and 80s, hot briquetting is now a fully-accepted, reliable technology for the passivation of direct-reduced iron (DRI) to turn it into the more convenient form of hot-briquetted iron (HBI). Hot briquetting is the only passivation method accepted by the International Maritime Organzation (IMO) with regard to overseas transportation. 

The main advantages of HBI in comparison to DRI are to be found in the areas of storage, transportation and handling.  The positive characteristics of HBI are recognized by ship owners and insurance companies and result in lower freight rates. As a safe product with easy handling and consistent quality, HBI will continue to represent a preferred source of clean iron units for the open world market as well as an internationally traded replacement for scrap in the steel industry. This is reflected in the growing number of production facilities in many parts of the world.

The advantages of HBI can be summed up as follows:

  • The briquetting process does not affect the chemical composition 
  • Only minimal loss of metallization even after a long storage time
  • Unproblematic open-air storage both at producer and user sites (no need for inertized silos as with DRI)
  • Minimal risk of overheating during storage and transportation
  • Shipping of HBI in line with IMO standards and regulations
  • Only a small amount of fines produced during handling
  • Small, uniform product size (facilitates the charging of furnaces)
  • Higher density improves performance in the smelting process

Hot briquetting is used for the passivation of DRI from pellets and lump ore (shaft furnaces) as well as fine ore (fluid bed reactors). Both these direct-reduction techniques are based on gaseous reductants, generally natural gas. DRI from coal-based processes (e.g. RHF) is also successfully hot-briquetted.