Swedish steelmaker SSAB Oxelösund has delivered the world's first fossil-free steel to its regular customer, the car manufacturer Volvo Group.
The unique metal products were manufactured in northern Sweden using Hybrit (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology), developed by SSAB in partnership with mining company LKAB and utility Vattenfall. This technology uses hydrogen, which does not contain fossil hydrocarbons, instead of coal and coke.
“The world's first fossil-free steel is not only a breakthrough for SSAB, but also proof that the transition can be made and significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of the steel industry. We hope this will inspire others to accelerate the transition to a greener future, ”said Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB.
Volvo said it will begin production of the first concept cars and cars from SSAB steel this year using hydrogen. It is planned that in 2022 small-scale serial production will begin, followed by a gradual transition to mass production.
The automaker and steelmaker will also work together on research and development to optimize the use of steel in Volvo's products in terms of weight and quality. Together, the two companies will develop a range of fossil-free steel products with the aim of going into series production within a few years.
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall created HYBRIT technology back in 2016 with the aim of developing a fossil-free iron and steel production technology. In June 2021, three companies were able to demonstrate the world's first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron produced at the HYBRIT pilot plant in Luleå.
The goal is to bring fossil-free steel to the market and demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026. Using HYBRIT technology, SSAB can reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions in Sweden by about ten percent and in Finland by about seven percent.
“We will switch to an electric arc furnace in Oxelesund already in 2025. This is the first site at SSAB to make the transition, which means that we will already be cutting our carbon footprint in large quantities. This is a great responsibility that we are proud to take on and it offers great opportunities for the region, ”says Johnny Sjöström, Head of SSAB's Special Steels Division.