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Electrolysis method described for making 'green' iron
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) May 08, 2013

Scientists unveiled a new method on Wednesday for extracting metallic iron from its ore while curbing Earth-warming carbon dioxide emissions.

This is achieved with electrolysis and has the added benefit of releasing oxygen as a byproduct, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported in the journal Nature.

The new method, molten oxide electrolysis (MOE), "offers both a substantial simplification of the process and a significant reduction in energy consumption," the researchers wrote.

"MOE is also considered a promising route for mitigation of CO2 emissions in steelmaking."

Iron, the key ingredient of steel, is extracted from ore mined from the Earth's crust in a process known as smelting, which today requires the addition of carbon at extremely high heat -- releasing CO2.

For their electrolysis method, the team developed special new chromium-based anodes that can handle the high temperature and corrosion of the electrical current flowing through them.

Previous attempts at electrolysis iron extraction had used expensive iridium-based anodes, said a Nature press statement that described the new anodes as "affordable and durable".

In a commentary on the study, Derek Fray of the University of Cambridge's metallurgy department said the findings should stimulate further work to design a large pilot reactor, though "considerable technical development will be required for the authors' discovery to be used commercially".

About a billion tonnes of iron was produced worldwide in 2011, Fray wrote in Nature -- contributing about five percent of that year's global increase in atmospheric CO2.


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More effective, cheaper concrete manufactured with ash from olive residue biomass
Granada, Spain (SPX) May 06, 2013
University of Granada researchers have successfully manufactured self-compacting concrete using ash from the combustion of olive pruning residue pellets. Due to its plasticity and cohesion, this type of concrete needs no compaction when used in construction and has many advantages over conventional concrete, resulting in considerable savings of time and money. In an article published in "C ... read more

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