Swedish steelmaker SSAB has announced that it has “produced the world’s first fossil-free steel”. The steel was delivered to its first customer, the Volvo Group, as part of a track delivery. Volvo had said it would start using steel in its manufacturing process from this year. Smaller-scale mass production is expected to begin in 2022 and a gradual escalation to mass production to follow.
The steel is the product of the HYBRIT partnership between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall and was manufactured by the world’s first steel plant, which uses non-fossil hydrogen instead of coal and coke. HYBRIT’s pilot plant for the production of non-fossil sponge iron in Luleå was commissioned in August 2020 and in March 2021 Gällivare, Sweden was chosen as the location for the demonstration facility planned for production. on an industrial scale.
“The world’s first fossil-free steel is not only a breakthrough for SSAB, it is proof that it is possible to make the transition and significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of the steel industry. We hope this will inspire others to want to accelerate the green transition as well, ”said Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB.
The Hybrit project was first implemented in 2016. Its long-term goal is to develop the technology so that it can be demonstrated on an industrial scale, with the hope that this can happen as early as 2026. The idea behind the project is to produce fossils – not pellets, non-fossil electricity and hydrogen, which involves removing carbon dioxide emissions from the process using raw materials and energy non-fossil at all levels of the value chain.
Steel production is incredibly energy intensive. On average, each tonne of steel requires around two tonnes of carbon dioxide in the world. Each year, steel production represents more than 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. SSAB currently produces 10% of Sweden’s carbon emissions through its steel plants, making scaling up fossil-free production methods particularly critical to meeting Sweden’s carbon reduction targets.
Anna Borg, President and CEO of Vattenfall, said: “This is a critical and important step towards creating a completely fossil-free value chain from mine to steel. finished. We have now shown together that it is possible, and the journey continues. By industrializing this technology in the future and making the transition to the production of spongy iron on an industrial scale, we will allow the steel industry to make the transition ”.
The International Energy Agency noted that the steel sector is “the largest industrial consumer of coal, which supplies around 75% of its energy demand”. This new method of steel production therefore has the potential to reduce reliance on coal for industrial processes such as steel production, essential to facilitate a green transition.
“By industrializing this technology in the future and making the transition to sponge iron production on an industrial scale, we will enable the steel industry to make the transition,” said Jan Moström, Chairman and CEO of LKAB.