Herein a big Fe-C-Ca cycle, clarifying the basic element flows and energy flows in modern carbonintensive industries including the metallurgical industry and the cement industry, was proposed for the first time in the contexts of emission reduction and iron ore degradation nowadays. This big cycle was focused on three industrial elements of Fe, C and Ca and thus it mainly comprised three interdependent loops, i.e., a C-cycle, a Fe-cycle and a Ca-path. As exemplified, we started from the integrated disposal of hot steel slags, a man-made iron resource via char gasification and the employment of hematite, a natural iron resource greatly extended the application area of this idea. Accordingly, based on this concept, the theoretical potentials for energy saving, emission reduction and Fe resource recovery achieved in modern industry are estimated up to 7.66 Mt of standard coal, 63.9 Mt of CO2 and 25.2 Mt of pig iron, respectively.
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