The steel industry is under pressure to reduce its CO₂ emissions, which arise from the use of coal. In the long-term, the injection of pulverized particles of charcoal from biomass through blast furnace tuyeres, in this case called Bio-PCI, is an attractive method from both an environmental and metallurgical viewpoint. The potential of Bio-PCI has been assessed in terms of its CO₂ abatement potential and economic viewpoint. A cost objective function has been used to measure the impact of biochar substitution in highly fuel-efficient BF among the top nine hot metal producers; estimations are based on the relevant cost determinants of ironmaking. This contribution aims to shed light on two strategic questions: Under what conditions is the implementation of Bio-PCI economically attractive? Additionally, where is such a techno-economic innovation likely to be taken up the earliest? The results indicate the potential for an 18–40% mitigation of CO₂. Findings from the economic assessment show that biochar cannot compete with fossil coal on price alone; therefore, a lower cost of biochar or the introduction of carbon taxes will be necessary to increase the competitiveness of Bio-PCI. Based on the current prices of raw materials, electricity and carbon taxes, biochar should be between 130.1 and 236.4 USD/t and carbon taxes should be between 47.1 and 198.7 USD/t CO₂ to facilitate the substitution of Bio-PCI in the examined countries. In regard to implementation, Brazil, followed by India, China and the USA appeared to be in a better position to deploy Bio-PCI.
- Pulverized coal injection (PCI)
- Sustainable ironmaking