A multiple moving hearth furnace (10) having a furnace housing (11) with at least two moving hearths (20) positioned laterally within the furnace housing, the hearths moving in opposite directions and each moving hearth (20) capable of being charged with at least one layer of iron oxide and carbon bearing material at one end, and being capable of discharging reduced material at the other end. A heat insulating partition (92) is positioned between adjacent moving hearths of at least portions of the conversion zones (13), and is capable of communicating gases between the atmospheres of the conversion zones of adjacent moving hearths. A drying/preheat zone (12), a conversion zone (13), and optionally a cooling zone (15) are sequentially positioned along each moving hearth (30) in the furnace housing (11).
The present invention was made with support by the Economic Development Administration, Grant No. 06-69-04501, and the Department of Energy, Sponsor Award DE-FG36-05G015185. The United States government may have certain rights in the invention.