Two Planet Steel is reinventing iron- and steel-making. A tipping point has been reached. Thirty-five centuries of optimization of the blast furnace may have kept lowering the cost of iron-making, but there are now no significant improvements left. And they produce a staggering 7.9% to 8.9% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Blast furnaces can now be beaten. With the latest, lowest clean electricity prices, continued production (marginal) costs will be better for alternatives that emit no carbon dioxide at all. While the reasonable range for the up-front plant investment costs for these alternatives overlaps those of blast furnaces. Keys to the better new iron- and steel-making are low clean energy prices, efficient water and carbon dioxide splitting electrolyzers, better iron-making furnaces, and small-scale steel-making equipment that does away with normal steel-milling.
Two Planet Steel began in 2015 when the founder, Dr. R.M. Olsen, asked a question. Could a small-scale automated system be made that mines iron-containing sand, turns the sand into a variety of finished steel parts, and then assembles the parts into new working systems? The answer to the question is yes. And the making of such a small-scale system began when NASA awarded Two Planet Steel an STTR/SBIR grant in 2017.
Dr. Dmitri Terekhov joined Two Planet Steel in 2018. Two years on, previously missing parts for our new iron- and steel-making are now invented.
The manufacture of steel parts on Earth will change for good, the manufacture of steel parts on Mars will soon start for good. And, as a bonus, new iron- and steel-making plants are also means to load-shift and store electricity generated from wind and solar generators at-scale for many millions of people.