Electra Commissions Pilot Plant in Colorado to Create Emissions-Free Iron Using Cold Temperatures

April 1, 2024
Electra’s clean iron with more than 99% purity, combined with recycled scrap steel, not only offers a high value-in-use for electric arc furnace steelmakers but also minimizes capital intensity, cost, and waste across the value chain

Electra, a clean iron company, has commissioned its pilot plant in Boulder, Colorado, to produce metallic iron from already mined, high-impurity, commercially stranded ores to accelerate decarbonization, sustainability, and circularity across the ore-to-steel value chain.

Nearly 90% of steel production's carbon dioxide emissions come from ironmaking. To resolve this, Electra's processes operate at only 140°F, allowing the integration of intermittent renewable energy resources and creating emissions-free iron at colder temperatures. 

The process also includes a wide range of ores and the principal iron ore impurities like alumina and silica, which are selectively refined as co-products. 

“Clean iron produced from a wide variety of ore types is the key constraint to decarbonizing the steel industry sustainably. With support from our partners across the value chain, the Pilot brings us closer to our goal of producing millions of tonnes of clean iron by the end of the decade," said Electra CEO and co-founder Sandeep Nijhawan. 

Electra’s clean iron with more than 99% purity, combined with recycled scrap steel, not only offers a high value-in-use for electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmakers but also minimizes capital intensity, cost, and waste across the value chain.

The pilot plant is designed to produce clean iron in approximately 1-meter square plates, and capacity will be increased in phases to validate modularity. The plant capacity will be increased to millions of tons of iron production at the commercial scale by constantly connecting the iron plates already demonstrated at the pilot scale. 

BHP, a seaborne iron ore supplier to the steel industry and an Electra investor, supplied the pilot with iron ores.

“The commissioning of the Pilot within three and a half years of the company's founding reflects the strength of our team and our ability to leverage knowledge from adjacent industries and push the boundaries of clean iron production to tackle one of the hardest-to-abate sectors of our economy,” said Quoc Pham, Electra's CTO and co-founder.