At the DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space, we are constructing a low-pressure inductively coupled plasma reactor for the investigation of iron ore reduction in hydrogen-containing plasmas. We offer a PhD thesis entitled „Characterization of low-pressure argon-hydrogen plasma for reduction of iron ores“. Iron and steel production are responsible for about 7% of global CO2 emission thus contributing to the global warming.
The traditional process involves the usage of coal coke as a reducing agent. An alternative, potentially “green” approach, is the utilization of hydrogen, whose reaction with iron oxides leads to the reduction of iron and release of water. This reduction reaction, while predominantly endothermic for ground-state molecular hydrogen, becomes exothermic for electronically excited molecules, atomic hydrogen or hydrogen ions. Therefore, non-thermal plasmas can be used for the activation of the hydrogen-containing atmosphere in terms of ore reduction.
The prospective PhD candidate is going to participate in the finalization of the setup construction and design, its commissioning and establishing the experimental procedures. The focus of this project is on diagnostics of plasmas using different optical methods. Our ultimate goal is to measure the parameters of plasma electrons and number densities of reactive species in the plasma and correlate them with the efficiency of the iron ore reduction process. We would also like to understand the role of iron ore sample temperature which controls the diffusion of oxygen atoms inside it.
Following plasma diagnostics are planned to be used:
- optical emission spectroscopy
- Raman and Thomson scattering
- laser absorption
This work is a collaboration between the DLR Institute of Materials Physics in Space in Cologne and the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Düsseldorf.