A brewery in the Netherlands makes history in terms of environmental protection by using a cycle of burning iron as fuel for its furnace.
“Iron acts as a kind of clean battery for combustion processes, charging by one of several means, including electrolysis, and discharging into flames and heat,” he said. New Atlas.
How does the process work?
Iron is burned in furnaces, meeting an essential requirement of the industry for high heat, which cannot be met with many other renewable resources.
This process results in rust waste, which is reintroduced into the recycling cycle and transformed into reusable iron particles for combustion, by removing oxygen particles.
“Iron powder is easy to transport and can be recycled. If you burn iron powder with hot gas to drive a turbine or an engine, rust powder results. Using hydrogen produced from surplus electricity from sustainable sources, you turn it back into iron powder. In this process, you extract oxygen from the rust particles, ”explained Niels Dean, a researcher at the University of Eindhoven.a statement from February.
The researchers also explain why this has not really been explored before in the commercial sector.
It’s simple: fossil fuels have been the right combination, being a fairly abundant and relatively inexpensive resource to dominate the energy market for decades.
Even today, iron powder is a solution that very few suppliers around the world opt for. Production should be expanded for wider energy use.
The Bavaria brewery in the Netherlands, owned by Royal Swinkels and operated for over 300 years, says it is the first business in the world to start using a cyclic iron kiln.
“As a family business, we are investing in a sustainable, circular economy because we have been thinking for generations, not years,” says Peer Swinkels, CEO of Royal Swinkels.
The Dutch government has introduced a strict timeline to phase out natural gas use by 2022. This has prompted researchers to find a completely different path – the iron cycle creates heat by burning, however combustion is cleaner and the results are recyclable.
For industries that require high heat, electricity and heat from burning iron are a version of the future.