Brazil’s Vale Tests Biochar in Pellet Production in Move to Cut Emissions

Dec 2, 2021

Brazilian miner Vale SA VALE3.SA is considering replacing mineral coal used in the production of iron ore pellets with biochar derived from vegetation, after a successful test run, in what it sees as a major step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Vale officials told Reuters that one of the company’s pelletizing units in the northeastern city of Sao Luis produced 57,000 tonnes of pellets in a process in which biochar accounted for 25% of the total coal used, which allowed it to cut emissions by 10%.

“There was a great fear on the market regarding biochar use, companies were afraid that it would impact the quality of the pellet. But we managed to break some taboos; we proved that it is viable,” said Fabio Brandao, Vale’s executive manager for pellet engineering.

Coal is used to power furnaces used to make iron ore pellets, but is also added to the pellets.

Vale now plans to work on the possibility of replacing all the coal used in its 12 pellet plants – 11 in Brazil and one in Oman – with biochar, which the company says would allow it to reduce its total emissions by 16%.

Continue reading at Nasdaq