Doctoral Network on the adoption of Hydrogen mEtalLurgy In the climate-neutral production Of Steel - HELIOS

DC1: Reduction and degradation of pellets in a hydrogen-dominated direct-reduction shaft furnace

Project title: Reduction and degradation of pellets in a hydrogen-dominated direct-reduction shaft furnace (WP1)

Host Institution: TU Delft

Country: Netherlands

Supervisors: Yongxiang Yang (TUD) – Co-supervisors: Neslihan Dogan (TUD), Jan Van der Stel (TATA), P.K. Gupta (TATA), Petri Sulasalmi (UOULU)


  • Identify the reduction and carburisation phenomena as a function of the process conditions in the different shaft zones (reduction, transition, cooling zones);
  • Analyse the effect of process conditions and pellet properties on the resulting DRI, including a sensitivity analysis;
  • Evaluate the reduction and degradation of sinter in a DRI shaft;
  • Determine the kinetic and heat transfer controlled regimes for the different BF- and DR-grade pellets;
  • Evaluate the in-situ reforming of methane/hydrocarbons in the reactor as carburisation agent for the DRI;
  • Determine the gas utilisation efficiency;

Expected results: 

  • Detailed information about the interaction between direct reduction gases and BF grade and DR grade pellets and sinter under conditions which are directly relevant for the hydrogen-dominated DRI shaft furnace;
  • Quantitative data on the effect of various process conditions and pellet properties on the final DRI product quality;
  • Description of the in-situ reforming of methane/hydrocarbons and the gas utilisation efficiency;

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): TU Delft Graduate School 3mE

Planned secondments:

Host: TATA Steel; Supervisor: Guchan Yapar, Pramod Gupta; Timing:  M16-21; Length: 6 months; Purpose: Working with the DRP H&M balance models to understand better the effect of hydrogen partial pressure on reduction and its kinetics.

Host: University of OULU; Supervisor: Petri Sulasalmi; Timing: M25-27; Length: 3 months; Purpose: Study of individual pellets reduction in H2-CO-CO2 atmosphere and comparison with BF condition

Candidate requirements: 

  • You hold a master’s degree in metallurgical or materials engineering.
  • You have sound knowledge in pyrometallurgical fundamentals including thermodynamics and reaction kinetics, and are acquainted with ironmaking technologies.
  • You have good skills in materials sampling and knowledge in characterization with various analytical methods (XRF, XRD, ICP, SEM/EDS, EPMA etc.).
  • You have laboratory experience in conducting high temperature experiments, and are familiar with using furnaces and reacting gases (in particular H2),
  • You have good communication skills in English, are proficient in report and paper writing, and can deliver good technical presentations.
  • You are independent but also a good team player, and are willing to cooperate closely with other researchers and the industry partner within the project.
  • You have a critical scientific attitude and have an awareness on sustainability.
  • You are enthusiastic and self-motivated, ready to participate in personal training, international exchanges and public awareness activities.