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World’s first fossil-free steel delivered

Global steel company SSAB has now produced the world’s first fossil-free steel and delivered it to their first customer.

Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB called it a breakthrough that represents proof it is possible to significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of the steel industry: “We hope that this will inspire others to also want to speed up the green transition.”

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The trial delivery is a step towards a completely fossil-free value chain for iron- and steelmaking and a milestone partnership between SSAB, government-owned Swedish company LKAB and government-owned Swedish multinational Vattenfail.   

In 2016, the three organisations created HYBRIT – Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology – to develop 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.

Steel industry creates large amount of emissions but can be part of the solution

Minister of Trade and Industry of Sweden Ibrahim Baylan pointed out industry, and especially the steel industry, create large amounts of emissions and are thus an important part of the solution: “To drive the transition and become the world’s first fossil-free welfare state, 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.”

In July, SSAB Oxelösund rolled out its first steel reduced by 100% fossil-free hydrogen instead of coal and coke. The steel is now being delivered to the Volvo Group.

Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB called it a crucial milestone and important step towards creating a completely fossil-free value chain from mine to finished steel. “By industrialising this technology in the future and making the transition to the production of sponge iron on an industrial scale, we will enable the steel industry to make the transition. This is the greatest thing we can do together for the climate.”

Johnny Sjöström, Head of SSAB Special Steels Division said they will convert to an electric arc furnace in Oxelösund, Sweden as early as 2025: “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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Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith is a conference producer for Clarion Events Africa.