First fossil-free steel delivered to Volvo

August 26, 2021

A steel venture based in Sweden has delivered the first steel that was produced without using coal. HYBRIT, a venture owned by SSAB, (SSABa.ST), state-owned utility Vattenfall (VATN.UL) and miner LKAB delivered the steel to truck-maker Volvo AB as a trial run.
HYBRIT is working to revolutionize the steel industry that accounts for around 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“I’m happy to be minister for enterprise and energy in a country where industry is bubbling with energy for a (green) reset,” Ibrahim Baylan, Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation said.

Reuters reported that HYBRIT started test operations at its pilot plant for fossil-free steel in Lulea, northern Sweden in 2020 with the goal of replacing coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. Hydrogen is a key part of the EU's plan to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

SSAB, which accounts for 10 percent of Sweden's and 7 percent of Finland's carbon dioxide emissions, said the trial delivery was an "important step toward a completely fossil-free value chain.”

“The goal is to deliver fossil-free steel to the market and demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026,” it said in a statement.

SSAB said it will cut its CO2 emissions in Sweden by 25 percent by as early as 2025, through the conversion of the blast furnaces in Oxelösund, Sweden, to an electric arc furnace. Between 2030-2040, the plan is to convert the blast furnaces in Luleå, Sweden and Raahe, Finland to eliminate most of the remaining CO2 emissions.

The company anticipates that its Iowa operations will be powered by renewable energy by 2022. Its Americas operations will also be able to offer fossil-free steel products starting in 2026, utilizing the sponge iron developed using HYBRIT technology and produced in Sweden. At the same time, SSAB has started the process of phasing out fossil fuels used in rolling mills and heat treatment plants throughout the company, to reach the goal of becoming fossil-free by 2045.

Another green steel venture, H2 Green Steel, is planning to build a fossil fuel-free steel plant in the north of Sweden, including a sustainable hydrogen facility, with production starting in 2024.

Volvo said in April it would start production this year of prototype vehicles and components from the green steel.



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