07/12/2023 – Austrian governments’ highest award for contributions to sustainable economic development

Primetals Technologies receives innovation award for “Hyfor”

Primetals Technologies has recently received the “National Prize for Innovation” from the Austrian government. The prestigious award was presented at a special ceremony in Vienna, Austria, on

November 16.


The winning team from Primetals Technologies, celebrating on stage during the ceremony for the “National Prize for Innovation” in Vienna. © Primetals


Primetals Technologies ground-breaking “Hyfor” plant in Donawitz. © Primetals


According to the Austrian government’s press release, hydrogen-based fine-ore reduction (Hyfor) is a radical direct reduction process poised to become widely applicable soon. A significant contribution The innovation Prize is the Republic of Austria’s highest award for honoring significant contributions by Austrian companies to the country's sustainable economic development. The team of experts from Primetals Technologies Austria awarded with the prize has been developing “Hyfor” since 2016, with a pilot plant in Donawitz, Austria, which has been operational since 2021. Primetals Technologies has run numerous successful test campaigns at the pilot plant over the last few years.

Fluidized-bed technology

A groundbreaking technology, “Hyfor” is a direct reduction process that does not require any agglomeration steps, like sintering or pelletizing. It consists of three parts: a preheating and oxidation

unit where the fine ore is heated up to approximately 900 degrees, a reduction unit based on a fluidizedbed technology in which hydrogen removes oxygen particles from the iron oxide to produce metallic iron, and an off-gas treatment plant, which recycles the dust created during the reduction process.

Last December, Primetals Technologies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with its partners Fortescue, a global leader in the mining and heavy industries, and leading steel and technology group voestalpine. The collaboration is aimed at designing and engineering an industrial-scale prototype plant for net-zero ironmaking based on the “Hyfor” and Smelter solutions of Primetals Technologies.

The new Smelter technology is a furnace powered by electrical energy and used for the melting and final reduction of direct reduced iron made from lower-grade iron ores. The Smelter therefore is an innovative alternative for the production of green hot metal for the steelmaking plant.

The joint project teams, including Primetals Technologies’ strategic partner Mitsubishi Corporation, have been working closely together throughout 2023 and are finalizing preparations to proceed with the next steps in the realization of the industrial-scale prototype plant, including assembly works and implementation.

A cost-effective, net-zero process

With “Hyfor”, steel producers on the search for green alternatives to blast furnaces might well find just what they are looking for. A net-zero ironmaking process, it is also cost-effective compared with routes that rest on prior agglomeration steps. The absence of sintering and pelletizing processes ensures a reduction in Capex and Opex.