Nickel Laterite Reduction Using Bioreductor from Coconut Shell Charcoal: An Approach to Create Zero Carbon Cycle in Nickel Pig Iron (NPI) Production

Edi Sugiarto, Hadhiansyah Ilhami, Andreas Diga Pratama Putera, Himawan Tri Bayu Murti Petrus


Nickel is an indispensable material in metal industries. As the third biggest country possessing nickel laterite resource, Indonesia has strategically inherited 15% of nickel laterite in the world. Nickel Pig Iron (NPI) is one of nickel products involving massive high-grade metallurgical coke consumption that is commonly being used to recover nickel from low grade lateritic ore. Concerning on the carbon dioxide emission, replacement of the coke using bioreductor has been developing by some researchers. One of the alternatives is coconut shell charcoal that has been studied and developed.  Producing around 3 million tons of coconuts by 2014, Indonesia owns a high potential to provide bioreductor. Study on the optimization of the bioreductor performance has been conducted by exploring several variables, i.e., temperature (in the range of 800 – 1000 oC), composition of the bioreductor (from ratio 1:3, 1:4, and 1:5), and particle size of the samples. As for a comparator, anthracite was chosen to represent the metallurgical coke with its high fixed carbon content. XRD and gravimetry were applied to justify the phenomenon as well as to predict the kinetics of the nickel laterite reduction. By replacing the metallurgical coke, indeed the creation of zero carbon cycle can be realized in the nickel pig iron processing. Moreover, providing the abundance to the next generation can be established.

Keywords— environment; laterite; nickel ; reduction; sustainable

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