UK’s s steel experts have been taking a virtual look inside a shaft furnace, as part of a new project to test how well hydrogen would work as a reductant for steelmaking. The team used laboratory simulations to get an accurate picture of how hydrogen and other materials behave in the extreme conditions of a furnace, as a first step towards piloting a new type of hydrogen-fuelled process. The team examined how materials behaved in the hydrogen reduction process. To do this, they used unique technology based at Swansea University’s Steel and Metals Institute. Known as the reducibility rig, it simulates what happens to materials at very high temperatures in gas-laden environments.Steel & Metals Institute Facilities Manager at Swansea University Dr Mike Dowd said “Switching to hydrogen as a reducing agent for steelmaking would slash carbon emissions. Our work tested how this technology could work, before we start the next phase of this project. The reducibility rig in Swansea allows us to take a virtual look at the hydrogen reduction process could work on an industrial scale. It means we get a full picture of how materials behave in extreme conditions. We also compare hydrogen with carbon-heavy fuel sources. The tools we are using and our links with industry mean that this project could scale up these technologies for commercial use quite quickly. This is crucial as we all know that time is of the essence in the drive to cut carbon emissions.”This is a collaborative project, with the Steel & Metals Institute based at Swansea University and the Materials Processing Institute based in Middleborough, working directly with global metals and mining companies. The project was funded by the BEIS Industrial Fuel Switching Program.