Steel Mills

SSAB Touts World's First Fossil-Free Steel Delivery

Written by Michael Cowden

Swedish steelmaker SSAB said it has produced the world’s first-fossil free steel and delivered a trial order to automaker Volvo.

“It’s 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,” SSAB President and CEO Martin Lindqvist said in a statement.

SSABSSAB made the steel using the hydrogen-based HYBRIT technology it has developed in conjunction with Swedish iron ore miner LKAB and Swedish power company Vattenfall. The partners commissioned a pilot hydrogen-based direct-reduced iron (DRI) plant in Luleå, in northern Sweden, in August 2020.

The goal is to charge hydrogen-based DRI into an electric-arc furnace (EAF) to make fossil-free steel at an industrial scale by 2026.

“It’s a crucial milestone and an important step towards creating a completely fossil-free value chain from mine to finished steel,” LKAB President and CEO Jan Moström said.

SSAB rolled the trial fossil-free steel at its steel mill in Oxelösund, Sweden. The mill, an integrated facility, is slated to switch to EAF production as soon as 2025, the company said.

Switching to EAF production means the carbon-intensive coking coal process is no longer necessary. And DRI produced via hydrogen results in H2O (water) emissions instead of CO2 emissions.

Steel is a major contributor to higher global carbon emissions. SSAB thinks the switch to hydrogen steelmaking in Sweden and Finland, where its integrated mills are located, could reduce carbon emissions in those countries by 10% and 7%, respectively.

SSAB Americas, a subsidiary of the Swedish steelmaker, operates EAF plate mills in Iowa and in Alabama.

SSAB Americas President Chuck Schmitt told SMU earlier this summer that the company intends to make its first trial of fossil-free steel in the U.S. in early 2022.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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