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Iron and steelmaking
ArticleName Merchant hot briquetted iron offtake market potential in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
ArticleAuthor A. Erbe, H.-P. Heller

Technical University Freiberg (Freiberg, Germany):

Erbe A., Mag. Sc., Chair of Construction Business Management, Institute of Iron and Steel Technology, e-mail:
Heller H.-P., Dr. Eng., member of Managing Board, Institute of Iron and Steel Technology


In North America and parts of Asia, as well as in Italy and Spain, hot briquetted iron (HBI) is widely used, mainly for EAF steelmaking. In Germany, little of the product is consumed. The survey presented in this article was conducted among potential HBI users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2013 and identified reasons why HBI use is currently relatively low and determined a market potential for Merchant HBI of 750 000 t/a for the region. The results of the survey confirm the assumption that (1) Potential users in Germany are not sufficiently informed about HBI and its properties (81 % of respondents) and (2) the price of HBI is considered to be too high vs alternatives (50 % of respondents name the price as impediment against HBI use). The advantages of HBI uses in the EAF, BF/BOF and foundries, HBI’s transport and storage properties, the given price and quality could not convince the majority of survey participants to use HBI: 81 % of respondents, asked if they would consider using HBI at the given conditions answered “No”, only 19 % “Yes”. The survey reveals clearly that before Merchant HBI can be sold into the German market, potential users would need to be educated about the product, its properties and advantages of use. Neglecting the price problematic and the lack of information concerning the technological impact of HBI, the offtake market for Merchant HBI in Germany, Austria and Switzerland has the potential to grow to about four times of today’s volume. The region could be developed into one of the key Merchant HBI offtakers in Europe.

keywords HBI, survey, consumption, production, import, cost, advantages, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, markets

1. “Nonaffiliated third party” means any entity that is not an affiliate of, or related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control with, the exporting institution (equivalent U.S. Code, Title 15, Chapter 94, Subchapter I, Code § 6809 – Definitions), Legal Information Institute, 2014,
2. IIMA: Merchant HBI Market, Intern. Iron Metallics Assoc. brochure, Matthews, USA, 2012.
3. HBI, classified as HS Codes 720390 (Pure Iron Pellets/Lumps) and 720310 (Sponge Iron (DRI)), representing HBI/DRI incl. Fines of about 70-80%, the rest accounting for Pig Iron, Comtrade/IIMA: Reported imports 720390 Pure Iron Pellets/Lumps 720310 Sponge Iron (DRI), 2014.
4. World Steel Association [ed.]: Steel Statistical Yearbook 2013 and 2014, World Steel Association, Brussels, Belgium, 2013 and 2014.
5. Standfest, R.: Untersuchung zum Marktpotenzial von Eisenschwammbriketts (HBI) in Deutschland, TU Freiberg, Germany, 2013.
6. Stahleisen Handbook of the European Iron and Steel Works, Montan- und Wirtschaftsverlag, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2012.
7. Voestalpine entrusts construction of the direct reduction plant in Texas to Siemens and Midrex, Press release, voestalpine AG, Linz, Austria, 4 July 2013.

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