Pyrometallurgy, Iron and Steelmaking, Smelting and refining, Sustainable metal production, Process metallurgy of Ferrous and non-ferrous extarction, Zero waste production, Waste recycling

The production of iron and steel and non-ferrous metals by pyrometallurgical processes is an important and essential requirement. Pyrometallurgy is a specialised field that is critically important for the production of metals and alloys. Given the important need to reduce and minimize greenhouse gas emissions the technological focus of future pyrometallurgical R&D by universities and industry alike must concentrate on sustainability issues such as improved energy efficiency, recycling and waste minimization. Continued efforts are also needed on process optimization and new process development with a view to reducing capital and operating costs of the new large upcoming plants. Using the academic and industrial collaborations, there was a need to establish the “center for pyrometallurgy” research and development in order to solve the sustainability related issues in pryometallurgical route based metal extraction and recycling processes. The main functional areas of the Center will include the following-

  • Applied research involving process modelling in association with steel/metal/mineral industries

  • Fundamental research


Ajay Kumar Shukla

Principal Investigator



The main functional areas of the Center will include the following:

  • Applied research involving process modelling in association with steel/metal/mineral industries

  • Fundamental research

I. Applied research involving process modelling in association with steel/metal/mineral industries

Optimization and control of industrial iron and steelmaking processes and other metal extraction processes require a well defined methodology which involves comprehensive modeling efforts. It includes application of computational thermodynamics and computational fluid dynamics along with advanced optimization techniques like Genetic Algorithms. The data driven modeling techniques which are based upon multivariate analysis and Artificial Neural Networks are also used in conjunction of these. The objective is to develop a group which is competent enough to provide expertise in the area of control of complex industrial problems related to various metal extraction and steel industries. It will involve very active collaboration and interaction with metal and steel industries in terms of potential projects, student exchange and training programs. This group will demonstrate its capability in following possible areas:

  • Development of level-2 automation control systems for iron and steelmaking processes.
  • Trouble-shooting in industry operations.
  • Inclusion Engineering and clean steelmaking.
  • Design of suitable mold powder for high speed continuous casting process and development of mathematical model to estimate heat transfer coefficient in continuous casting molds.
  • Sustainable production of important non-ferrous metals (like Aluminum, Magnesium, Titanium, Copper, Zinc and Nickel) will also be investigated under this center by pyrometallurgy route.
  • The important projects will also include the recycling and utilization of waste materials like electronic wastes recycling to recover precious metals in smelters, pyrometallurgy route based recovery of rare earth metals from red mud, reduction roasting and beneficiation of lean quality ores, recycling of Li-ion batteries through pyro metallurgy route are some of the strategic projects which may be undertaken in this center.

II. Fundamental research

Fundamental studies based upon thermodynamics and computational fluid dynamics.

Most of the high temperature processes are close to thermodynamic equilibrium if there is adequate mixing. The mixing aspects of the reactors can be studied with the help of CFD models as well as laboratory based cold model experiments. For thermodynamic studies, FactSage based studies would be done. For non-equilibrium reactors, the application of FactSage/MetSim would be useful where a non-equilibrium reactor is defined as a combination of large number of inter-connected equilibrium reactors constrained by limited flow of materials among them. It is possible to study following processes:

  • Mixing in the steel ladle, tundish and continuous casting molds.
  • Thermodynamics based modeling of BOF/EAF/LF/VAD/VOD/AOD steelmaking
  • processes.
  • Desulphurization and degassing during secondary steelmaking
  • Design of nozzles applied to steelmaking process
  • Slag/Metal equilibrium studies
  • Clean steel production/Inclusion control during ladle metallurgy
  • Thermodynamic modeling of ferro alloy production
  • Thermodynamics based modeling of non-ferrous extraction (Copper smelting, Ilmenite smelting etc.)

Expected deliverables of the research

  • A world class “Centre of Pyro-metallurgy” is proposed to be established with high temperature equipment and facilities along with a vibrant consortium of industry partners along with global engagements and exchange programs (JDP/JSP and so on). Efforts would be made to develop this center in a self-sustainable mode after 2 years without any much support from the institute.
  • Generation of IPR outcomes in terms of good number of publications in high impact journals, filing of patents, potential Masters and Ph.D students who are employable by leading industries and academic institutions.
  • The joint global courses/workshops and industry sponsored masters/doctoral programs will be developed in the specific and much needed area of pyrometallurgy. There would be lot of exchange visits of students and faculty members across global institutes of repute to solve this purpose.
  • The center would be known for solving national issues related to the production of metals by pyrometallurgy route in a sustainable manner related to raw material, energy and environment.

Current status

  • Currently we have high temperature lab developed by other projects with following details: link


International Collaborations (approached and under progress)

  • Institute of Iron and Steel, TU Bergakademie, Freiberg, Germany
  • Ferrous Metallurgy Institute, RWTH Aachan University
  • High Temperature Laboratory, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
  • Kent Peaseele Steel Manufacturing Center, Missouri S&T, USA
  • Pyrometallurgy Innovation Center (PYROSEARCH), University of Queensland.
  • Pyrometallurgy Center, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Kroll Institute For Extractive Metallurgy (KIEM), Colorado School of Mines
  • Center for Pyrometallurgy, University of Pretoria
  • Center for Iron and Steelmaking Research, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Mintek Pyrometallurgy Division, South Africa

Industrial collaborations

  • Already have collaboration with JSW/NMDC, more partners will be added later on.