World’s first fossil-free steel delivered by Sweden’s HYBRIT

SSAB has produced the world’s first fossil-free steel and delivered it to a customer. The trial delivery is a step on the way to a completely fossil-free value chain for the iron- and steelmaking industry and a milestone in the HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology) partnership between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall.

In July, the company rolled the first steel produced using HYBRIT technology, reduced by 100 per cent fossil-free hydrogen instead of coal and coke. The steel is now being delivered to the first customer, the Volvo Group.

“The first fossil-free steel in the world is not only a breakthrough for SSAB, but it also represents proof that it is possible to make the transition and significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of the steel industry,” Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB, said. “We hope that this will inspire others to also want to speed up the green transition.” 

“The steel industry creates large emissions but it is also an important part of the solution,” Ibrahim Baylan, minister of trade and industry of Sweden, said “To drive the transition and become the world’s first fossil-free welfare state, a collaboration between business, universities and the public sector is crucial. The work done by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall within the framework of HYBRIT drives the development of the entire industry and is an international model.”

The companies created HYBRIT in 2016, with the aim of developing a technology for fossil-free iron- and steelmaking. In June 2021, the three companies were able to showcase the world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron produced at HYBRIT’s pilot plant in Luleå. This first sponge iron has since been used to produce the first steel made with this breakthrough technology.

“It’s very pleasing that the HYBRIT partnership is once more taking an important step forward and that SSAB can now produce the first fossil-free steel and deliver to the customer,” Anna Borg, president and CEO of Vattenfall, said. “This shows how partnerships and collaboration can contribute to reducing emissions and building competitiveness for industries. Electrification is contributing to making fossil-free living possible within one generation.” 

The goal is to deliver fossil-free steel to the market and demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026. Using HYBRIT technology, the company has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by approximately ten per cent and Finland’s by approximately seven per cent.

“We’ll be converting to electric arc furnace in Oxelösund as early as 2025,” Johnny Sjöström, head of SSAB special steels division, said. “This is the first production site within SSAB to make the transition, and it means that we’ll already be cutting large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions then. This is a major responsibility, one that we’re proud to shoulder, and it brings great opportunities to the region.” 

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