Institute of Chemical Engineering
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ERBA II: Optimization of „Sorption Enhanced Reforming“ for an improved CO2-balance of a raw iron production by the use of biomass

Fig.: DFB Gasifier (Source J.C. Schmid TU Wien)

Project description:

The present research project “ERBA II“ investigates a process for the reduction of fossil CO2-emission of an iron production. “Sorption Enhanced Reforming” enables an improvement of the overall CO2-balance of an iron production by the use of biomass. Therefore, „ERBA II” is used to investigate so far hidden potential of “Sorption Enhanced Reforming” at laboratory scale with respect to process efficiency, hydrogen production rate as well as selective CO2 transport. Achieve results should lead to a relevant improvement of the overall process to enable technical measures for a significant reduction of fossil CO2 emission of iron production. A novel dual fluidized bed reactor system should enable these improvements. A combination of the fluidized bed system with an integrated O2 combustion will show the potential of an innovative “below zero emission technology”.

The development of new chemical processes is necessary to enable an increased utilization of renewable energy sources in iron industry. voestalpine is known as one of the leading steel producers in Europe. Used blast furnace technology is seen as leading bench mark for other steel makers.

The previous research project ERBA already proved that “sorption enhanced reforming” is a promising process route, which allows the utilization of woody biomass in iron production, ensuring the quality of final products at the same time. The research group “gasification and gas cleaning” at Vienna University of Technology is one of the two leading research groups in the field of “sorption enhanced reforming” worldwide. The research project ERBA II aims at a target-oriented optimization of the basic principles of “sorption enhanced reforming” for an application in iron industry. As a part of the present project, voestalpine and Vienna University of Technology put their knowledge together to enable an optimization of the process with respect to its efficiency. The carried out work includes:

•    experimental investigation at laboratory-scale,
•    an evaluation of achieve measurement-data with respect to large-scale operation,
•    as well as an improvement of the used process route to enable an application as “below zero emission”-process.

The research project ERBA II will enable an optimization of basic principles of “sorption enhanced reforming” at laboratory-scale. The gained knowledge prepares the operation of “sorption enhanced reforming” as “below zero emission”-process. The achieved results are applied to prepare a process route for an iron production with reduced fossil carbon dioxide emissions.


Figure 1: Process principle of "SER" (left) and "Oxy-SER" (right), Source: J.C. Schmid 2016

Figure 2: Variation of gasification temperature: SER with wood as fuel (Source: Schmid et al., 2017 EUBCE)

Figure 3: comparison of conventional gasification and SER with wood as fuel (Source: Fuchs et al., Poster 2016 iSGA-5)

Industrial partner and financial support:

  • voestalpine Stahl GmbH, Linz
  • voestalpine Stahl Donawitz GmbH

The present project is supported with financial contribution from the Austrian "Climate and Energy Fund" as a part of the research program "Energieforschung":






Johannes Schmid

Project team:

Nina Kieberger

Hugo Stocker

Thomas Bürgler

Anna Mauerhofer

Stefan Müller

Maximilian Kolbitsch

Josef Fuchs

Florian Benedikt

Hermann Hofbauer

Project status:

Final phase