Request for Information (RFI) on Steel Made via Emissions-Less Technologies (SMELT)


Funding Opportunity ID: 333607
Opportunity Number: DE-FOA-0002536
Opportunity Title: Request for Information (RFI) on Steel Made via Emissions-Less Technologies (SMELT)
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
Category of Funding Activity: Opportunity Zone Benefits
Science and Technology and other Research and Development
Category Explanation:
CFDA Number(s): 81.135
Eligible Applicants: Unrestricted (i.e., open to any type of entity above), subject to any clarification in text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility”
Additional Information on Eligibility: This is a Request for Information (RFI) only. This RFI is not seeking applications for financial assistance. THIS NOTICE DOES NOT CONSTITTUE A FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT (FOA). NO FOA EXISTS AT THIS TIME.
Agency Code: DOE-ARPAE
Agency Name: Department of Energy
Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy
Posted Date: May 17, 2021
Close Date: Jun 14, 2021 Reponses to this RFI should be submitted in PDF format to the email address [email protected] by 5:00 Eastern Time on 6/14/2021. For more information, please review the RFI in its entirety at
Last Updated Date: May 17, 2021
Award Ceiling: $0
Award Floor: $0
Estimated Total Program Funding: $0
Expected Number of Awards: 0
Description: Request for Information (RFI): Steel Made via Emissions-Less Technologies (SMELT) This is a Request for Information (RFI) only. This RFI is not soliciting application for financial assistance. The purpose of this RFI is solely to solicit input for ARPA-E consideration to inform the possible formulation of future programs. The purpose of this RFI is to solicit input for a potential future ARPA-E-funded research program focused on novel technical approaches to produce iron metal (Fe) from iron-containing ores, which can create new technology pathways to enable future net-zero GHG emissions steelmaking at global scale. Global steel production – 1,700 million tonnes (Mt) of crude steel annually, of which 2/3 is primary production from ores and 1/3 is secondary scrap recycling2 – accounts for ~7% of world energy use (over 38 EJ) and ~7% of global GHG emissions4 (3.5 Gt CO2e). The most widespread primary steelmaking pathways are: (1) blast furnace ironmaking-basic oxygen furnace steelmaking (BF-BOF) which emits ~2.2 t CO2/t steel, and (2) natural gas direct reduced ironmaking-electric arc furnace (NG DRI-EAF) steelmaking, which emits ~1.4 t CO2/t steel. Annual domestic steel production (~80 Mt steel) accounts for ~4% of U.S. emissions and 2% of U.S. energy use; the remainder of annual U.S. steel demand (~43 Mt steel) is imported. Global steel production is expected to almost double, reaching ~2,500 Mt steel per year by 2050 as GDP per capita increases in developing nations. Despite steel’s role in achieving sustainable development goals, these increasing emissions must be abated to avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change. The most emissions-intensive stage in the value chain from ore to steel products is ironmaking (see ARPA-E Iron & Steel Webinar7 overview). There are no zero-emissions ironmaking technologies yet available at scale to replace these routes. Accordingly, this request for information (RFI) focuses on novel zero-emissions ironmaking processes with a credible future path toward enabling zero-emissions steelmaking at global scale (~2 Gt steel/yr). A dominant medium-term strategy toward this goal is to retrofit carbon capture systems (CCS) onto blast furnaces, which will increase the levelized cost of crude steel; the estimated premium is ~$130/t steel, as shown in Figure 1. A dominant long-term strategy for many global steel companies is water electrolysis to produce hydrogen followed by hydrogen direct reduced ironmaking (H2 DRI).H2 DRI is currently more expensive than CCS retrofit given today’s electrolyzers and electricity prices, but may approach a cost-competitive range if electrolyzer R&D is successful and electricity prices drop. To view the RFI in its entirety, please visit The information you provide may be used by ARPA-E in support of program planning. THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ONLY. THIS NOTICE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT (FOA). NO FOA EXISTS AT THIS TIME.
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