Friday, April 6, 2018

This comes a little late to this forum, but still. I'm so excited to start in a new position as a Sales Director in a company called Sapotech. Sapotech has been founded a little over five years ago to develop and provide high tech solutions to metals industry quality monitoring applications. In Sapotech products, unique image processing and laser technologies are combined to inspect the production of metals at all temperatures. For more information, please go to Sapotech home page.

I will continue to post some interesting news, success stories, etc. related to the Sapotech's journey towards the best quality monitoring solution provider in the metals industry!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Our latest research paper: "Effect of Charcoal and Kraft-lignin Addition on Coke Compression Strength and Reactivity" has been published in Energies. The research investigates the possibility to replace part of the coking coal with charcoal or Kraft-lignin in metallurgical coke production.

Abstract: The aim of this research was to investigate the effects of charcoal and Kraft-lignin additions on the structure, cold compression strength, and reactivity of bio-cokes produced at the laboratory scale. Bio-cokes were prepared by adding charcoal and Kraft-lignin (2.5, 5.0, 7.5, and 10.0 wt %) to medium-volatile coal and coking the mixture with controlled heating rate (3.5 °C/min) up to 1200 °C. In addition, four particle sizes of charcoal were added with a 5 wt % addition rate to investigate the effect of particle size on the compression strength and reactivity. Thermogravimetric analysis was used to evaluate the pyrolysis behavior of coal and biomasses. Optical microscopy was used to investigate the interaction of coal and biomass components. It was found that by controlling the amount of charcoal and Kraft-lignin in the coal blend, the compression strength of the bio-cokes remains at an acceptable level compared to the reference coke without biomass addition. The cold compression strength of the charcoal bio-cokes was higher compared to Kraft-lignin bio-cokes. The reactivity of the bio-cokes with charcoal addition was markedly higher compared to reference coke and Kraft-lignin bio-cokes, mainly due to the differences in the physical properties of the parental biomass. By increasing the bulk density of the coal/biomass charge, the cold compression strength of the bio-cokes can be improved substantially.

Authors: H. Suopajärvi, E. Dahl, A. Kemppainen, S. Gornostayev, A. Koskela, T. Fabritius

Friday, September 8, 2017

Our latest research paper: "Charcoal Use in Chromite Pellets - Effect on Sintering Process, Pellet Properties, and Electrical Conductivity" has been published in Steel Research International. The research investigates the possibility to replace fossil coke with charcoal in chromite pellets.


Ferrochrome is produced by carbothermic reduction of chromite raw materials. Chromite fines need to be agglomerated before they can be utilized. Typically, chromite fines are fed to the smelting furnace in a form of sinter or sintered pellets. Sintering requires high temperatures, which is generated by burning carbon-bearing materials. Usually, coke is used as a fuel in chromite pellet sintering, which results in SOX and CO2 emissions. Using low-sulfur biofuel to substitute coke is an attractive technique for reducing SOX and CO2. In this paper, coke substitution with charcoal in chromite pellet sintering is studied. The results show that coke substitution with charcoal affects the sintering behavior, cold compression strength, and electrical conductivity of the chromite pellets. The suitable replacing proportion of charcoal according to studies made in this paper will be 50%.

Sakaranaho M, Heikkilä A, Suopajärvi H, Päätalo M, Fabritius T

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

System Integrated Metals Processing: Final report available (link)

The main target of Show Case 4 – CARBO was to clarify the feasibility of using alternative reducing agents in the metallurgical processes to lower the carbon footprint of metal production without compromising product quality and efficient process operation. The main emphasis in Show Case 4 was placed on the use of biomass-based reductants, which are considered to be sustainable fuels due to their renewability. The prior knowledge concerning the use of biomass-based reductants in modern metallurgical processes is vague, which has restricted wider use of these reductants in the industry. In Show Case 4, the feasible physical and chemical properties of biomass-based reducing agents to be used in different metallurgical processes were investigated. New tools and methods to test the properties of reducing agents and to create new specifications for efficient use in metallurgical unit processes were developed. Economic and environmental synergies of several process integration opportunities were also evaluated in the project. As a result of the project, there is now a much better understanding of the limitations and opportunities in using biomass-based reducing agents in metallurgical unit processes. The project results shed light on the economic constraints and the possible CO2 emission reduction potential.

Monday, June 5, 2017

We will present our latest bio-coke research results in the European Steel Technology and Application Days in Vienna, Austria, 26-29 June (

Title: Evaluation of bio-coke strength and reactivity for blast furnace use

The focus of ESTAD:
The international conference focuses on the latest trends and issues and provides a wide networking and information platform for equipment and service suppliers, plant manufacturers and steelmakers. At this event you will acquire the latest information on new ideas and developments as well as on the state-of-the-art in metallurgical process technologies for iron and steel production, steel materials and steel application.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My latest review paper: "Extensive review of the possibilities to use biomass-based fuels in iron and steelmaking processes" has just been published in Journal of Cleaner production

Steel production is one of the most energy and carbon intensive industries contributing 5–7% of the global CO2 emissions. In the search for ways to decrease fossil CO2 emissions, biomass-based reducing agents are considered as one promising opportunity. This paper presents the results of a systematic literature review of technological possibilities and constraints, environmental performance and economical limitations of using biomass-based reducing agents in iron and steelmaking processes. The review indicates that biomass-based reducing agents could be applied in the main iron and steelmaking unit processes with varied fossil fuel replacement ratios. The greatest potential to replace fossil fuel is in the charcoal injection to the blast furnace. Life cycle emissions of steelmaking may be considerably lowered through biomass-based reducing agent use. The main constraint in facilitating the transition towards biomass-based steelmaking seems to be the high price of biomass and biomass-based reducing agents compared to fossil-based reducing agents. In the future, there is a need to develop simultaneously cross-industrial production platforms to produce biomass-based reducing agents and other, more valuable products from biomass. This would enhance the economic and environmental performance of producing steel with biomass-based reducing agents.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

BioCleantech Forum, November 1-3 2016, Ottawa, Canada

We have been invited to give a presentation about Techno-Economics and Life Cycle Performance of Green Steel in BioCleantech Forum, which is organized in Ottawa, Canada.

This Forum is great opportunity to expand collaboration between Canada and Finland in a field of sustainable steelmaking.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The 7th European Coke and Ironmaking Congress - ECIC 2016, 12-14 September

Dr. Kemppainen will present our joint research paper that we have prepared with Process Integration department from Swerea Mefos. The title of the paper and presentation is "Iron ore pellet reduction behavior in potential low CO2 blast furnace scenarios"

Friday, May 6, 2016

Coke Reactivity in Simulated Blast Furnace Shaft Conditions

New research results concerning the metallurgical coke reactivity in the blast furnace shaft suggest that widely used standard method, Coke Reactivity Index (CRI) may not be entirely accurate for estimating coke reactivity in the blast furnace. Researcher J. Haapakangas et al. published a paper in Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B in which this topic is carefully examined. It is proposed that H2 and H2O should be present when the reactivity of the metallurgical coke is measured. The research is part of System Integrated Metal Processes (SIMP) program and RENEPRO project.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Renewable Energy Sources in Steel Plant Processes - Biomass-based Reductants, Fuels and Chemicals

RENEPRO project – INTERREG NORD 2014-2020 program
RENEPRO is a cooperation project between Finnish and Swedish partners in Interreg Nord 2014-2020 EU-program. The main focus areas in the project are biomass upgrading, fossil-based reductant replacement, process gas upgrading and CO2 reduction.

Objective of the project 
The main objective of this research project is to demonstrate the technological, economic and environmental feasibility of the novel bioeconomy-steel industry production platform (integrated steel, bio-based reductant and chemical production) through extensive laboratory investigations, pilot-scale trials, system analyses and carbon footprint assessments.

Expected results
The expected results of RENEPRO project include the assessment of optimal production technology for bioreducer production, new information about the possibility to use bioreducers as reductants in modern blast furnace, new gas upgrading methods for steel industry process gases to produce valuable fuels and chemicals, new approaches to combine bioeconomy, metal industry and chemical industry processes.

Project partners
RENEPRO project is coordinated by the University of Oulu (Process Metallurgy and Applied Chemistry). Other project partners are Luleå University of Technology (LTU), Sweden (Energy Science, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics), Future Eco AB, Sweden and Swerea Mefos, Sweden (Process Integration).