A quartet of manufacturing companies have succeeded in creating the world’s first fossil-fuel-free steel in Sweden, much of which will go directly to Volvo’s foundries to create the first “green steel” cars.
It’s a massive first step in decarbonizing a carbon-heavy industry, as steelmaking worldwide accounts for 8% of all CO2 emissions resulting from the need for coal in the manufacturing process, and the companies involved in the discovery account for 10% of Sweden’s emissions. and 7% from Finland.
From the Warring States period in Ancient China, and in India and Sri Lanka four centuries before that, metallurgical workers have understood that to take a useful metal, iron, and turn it into a superior alloy, steel, they needed a very high heat and a little carbon.
Today, that coal is being replaced by hydrogen by the Swedish company HYBRIT, owned by the Swedish steel company SSAB, the state company Vattenfall and the mining company LKAB.
The HYBRIT method uses hydrogen and green electricity to create the high temperatures and carbon needed to replace the carbon in your steel.
His hope is to introduce green steel into Volvo car bodies as soon as possible and onto the world circulating market. already in 2026.
“The world’s first fossil-free steel is not only a breakthrough for SSAB, it represents proof that it is possible to transition and significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of the steel industry. We hope this inspires others to want to accelerate the green transition, ”says Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB.
Hardly supported by this remarkable achievement, HYBRIT and its sponsors seek to ensure that the steel plant and boilers required to heat the hydrogen to 1,000 ° C (1,832 ° F) for its manufacturing process are run by non-fossil fuel energy sources.
They focus on gas electric heating, and their plant in Luleå, Sweden, will test a 250-kilowatt boiler. If it goes well, a megawatt version will be developed.
“This is one of many exciting steps among all the development that takes place within the fossil-free value chain.” set Eva Vitell, General Manager of Hybrit Development AB.
Iron ore for steelmaking is the world’s second-most-traded commodity behind crude oil, and any development to make that process greener represents massive cuts in potential emissions.
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