Zero carbon iron production wins top innovation award


The engineering and metals industries’ top innovators recognised at the HERA Future Forum Nation event

The Innovation Award was won by Dr Chris Bumby and his team at Victoria University of Wellington for their zero-carbon iron production discovery.

Their research has been looking exclusively at hydrogen reduction of iron ores and has produced positive results.

They have uncovered an entirely new, zero-carbon way to make iron and it works especially well with New Zealand ironsand.

On average, the production of one tonne of steel emits 1.8 tonnes of CO2. Finding a new way to make iron – one that could eliminate the use of coal – could be a significant step towards New Zealand’s climate targets.

For the first time HERA introduced a new, future-focused leader category — The Leading Metalhead Award —  recognising the person who is the greatest exemplar in the current market of the combination of “quality BAU (Business As Usual)  leadership with a practical but bold and ambitious vision for the future.”

The Leading Metalhead Award was presented to Scott Morrison, Marketing and Innovation Manager at Fletcher Steel, for his leadership in sustainability both within his company and across the industry.

Notably, the development and delivery of the Colorcote® Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for the New Zealand and Australian markets.

These documents are the only EPDs for pre-painted metal roofing which includes all the stages of manufacture, from ore extraction and steel making across multiple mills in Asia Pacific, through to painting and roll forming, ready for delivery to site.

This means industry professionals can use the published environmental data directly, without having to make further assumptions regarding the impact of other processes, leading to the opportunity for more better design solutions.

The most celebrated award of the evening, the Keith Smith Memorial Award, honours founding chairman Keith Smith and his endowment left to the HERA Foundation.

Because this award inherently rewards renowned and outstanding service, it’s not always possible to find a suitable candidate. This year HERA did.

Warwick Downing, Chief Executive of RAM3D, is this year’s recipient of the distinguished award. His service to the metals industry, although modest, has not gone unnoticed.

Warwick was nominated for the award by fellow director Barry Robinson who says, “Warwick has been the single major contributor and driver of creating a metal additive-manufacturing (3D printing) industry in New Zealand.

“Warwick has been the main driver and leader of all this, and certainly spearheaded this enabling technology for New Zealand. Because of his efforts New Zealand is now world-class if not world-leading in this technology,” he says.


About HERA

HERA drives thought leadership for the metals-based industry in research and innovation.

The organisation provides support to help members follow global best practice and achieve recognition for evaluating and adopting new technologies for commercial success.

Chief executive Dr Troy Coyle brings 19 years’ experience in innovation management covering the private sector, not-for-profit organisations, government and academia across a range of industries including materials science, medical radiation physics, biotechnology, sustainable building products, renewable energy and steel. She is a scientist with a PhD from the University of New South Wales.