Sponge iron reaction

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The sponge iron reaction (SIR) is a chemical process based on redox cycling of an iron-based contact mass, the first cycle is a conversion step between iron metal (Fe) and wuestite (FeO), the second cycle is a conversion step between wuestite (FeO) and magnetite (Fe3O4).[1] In application, the SIT is used in the reformer sponge iron cycle (RESC) in combination with a steam reforming unit.

Process description[edit]

The process has two modes, a reduction mode and an oxidation mode.

  • Iron-wuestite
  • Magnetite-wuestite


The reformer sponge iron cycle is a two step cycle to produce hydrogen from hydrocarbon fuels based SIR and steam.[2]

Reformer Sponge Iron Cycle[edit]

In the first step the hydrocarbon fuel is reformed to syngas in the reformer which is then used to reduce the iron oxide (magnetite - Fe3O4) to iron (wüstite - FeO), in the second step steam is utilized to re-oxidise the iron into magnetite and hydrogen. The iron oxide pellets are placed in a pelletbed and have a service life of several thousand redox cycles.[3]

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