International Steel Mills

HYBRIT Unveils Pilot Fossil-Free Hydrogen Gas Storage Facility

Written by David Schollaert

SSAB and its green steel partners LKAB and Vattenfall have launched HYBRIT’s pilot facility for fossil-free hydrogen gas storage. The first-of-its-kind rock cavern storage facility is in Luleå, northeast Sweden.

The launch of the new storage concept marks the beginning of a two-year test period, which will run until 2024, the company said.

hybrit logo2The unique storage facility – a lined rock cavern (LRC) – has been successfully used in southern Sweden for nearly two decades for storing natural gas. It’s now being developed for the first time with hydrogen gas, and on a large pilot scale.

“The hydrogen storage facility is a good example of how we’re testing and using innovations to achieve the goal of a completely fossil-free value chain, the first in the world,” said Martin Pei, SSAB’s CTO.

The latest development in the HYBRIT initiative is to see if the technology can be used on a large scale. Hydrogen gas storage is central to this transition, said Lars Ydreskog, LKAB’s senior VP of strategic projects. “In four years, HYBRIT technology will be used on a large scale in the first demonstration plant in Gällivare, and the plan is to then build more sponge iron factories… this pilot project will provide valuable knowledge for the continuing work on creating the world’s first fossil-free value chain for the iron and steel industry.”

“The pilot plant is important in order to really test and understand how large-scale hydrogen storage works,” said Klara Helstad, Swedish Energy Agency’s head of sustainable industry. “Storage of hydrogen gas will be an important piece of the puzzle for a fossil-free value chain for the iron and steel industry, but also in a future robust electrical system.”

The pilot LRC storage facility is 100 cubic meters (3,532 cubic feet) in size. A full-scale hydrogen gas storage facility needs to range between 100,000 to 120,000 cubic meters (3.53 – 4.24 million cubic feet). Such capacity would store up to 100 GWh of electricity converted to hydrogen gas. Enough capacity to supply a full-sized sponge iron factory for three to four days.

Using HYBRIT technology, SSAB can reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10%. The Swedish steelmaker, together with LKAB and Vattenfall have invested a total of $259 million SEK ($25.4 million USD) in hydrogen storage, supplemented by an additional $72 million SEK ($7 million USD) contribution from the Swedish Energy Agency.

“SSAB has the opportunity to transform our operations and cut 10% of Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions as well as 7% of Finland’s, and this will take us one step closer to our goal,” said Pei. “The hydrogen storage facility is an important piece of the puzzle in ensuring stable steel production and a milestone in the development of HYBRIT.”

SSAB is a Nordic and US-based steel company with mills in Sweden, Finland, and the US, and added facilities in 50 countries worldwide.

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

Read more from David Schollaert

Latest in International Steel Mills