CO2 efficiency

CO₂ efficiency

SSAB is committed to continuous environmental work aiming at minimizing the adverse environmental impacts from our operations. Our blast furnaces are among the most efficient in the world in terms of CO2 efficiency. Despite this, we are constantly looking for opportunities to improve.

CO2 emissions from steel production

There are two different ways of producing steel. The processes are differentiated according to the raw material used in the process – iron ore-based or scrap-based from recycled steel. Carbon dioxide emissions from scrap based steel production are about one-tenth of the emissions generated in conjunction with iron ore-based steel production. Since available scrap today accounts for only 25-30% of the demand for new steel, we are today dependent on both steel produced from scrap and steel made from iron-ore. In 2050, it is estimated scrap-based steel will account for about 50% of demand, which means that 50% of demand will continue to be met by steel made from iron-ore.

Read more about SSAB´s steel production processes


SSAB and CO2 emissions

In 2017, SSAB’s direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were 9.8 million tonnes. Around 90% of SSAB’s total CO2 emissions are generated in iron ore-based steel production at the company’s sites in Luleå, Oxelösund and Raahe, and 98% of these CO2 emissions are related to metallurgical processes, i.e. to the use of coke and coal as reducing agents. In 2017, direct emissions from Nordic steel production were 9.1 million tonnes. The greenhouse gases produced in Nordic steel production are within the scope of the European Emissions Trading System. In 2017, direct CO2 emissions from the scrap-based steel production in the US were 0.7 million tonnes.

More information about the production levels can be found in SSABs latest report

SSAB is one of the best in the world in iron-ore based steel making when it comes to CO2 efficiency – 7% better than the European average. The graph below compares SSABs CO2 emissions from the ore-based iron production with the average CO2 emissions of steel producers in other regions.


CO2-efficient steel production

The indexed carbon efficiency in iron-making based on coal consumed 2012
Source: Stahl-Zentrum

In practice this means that if SSABs production will be relocated outside of the Nordics to some other part of the EU 15, the emissions will increase with 600,000 tonnes or equal to 200,000 cars that drive 15,000 km each.


SSAB’s target to reduce CO2 emissions

SSAB has a target to reduce CO2 emissions from its steel production. The target is to achieve a lasting reduction of 300,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions by the end of 2020, compared to the 2014 baseline.

Read more about SSAB´s sustainability strategy and targets


SSAB’s CO2 mix

It is important to separate CO2 emissions from raw material used in the steel-making process with CO2 emissions from fuel used in production, since the possibility to improve CO2 efficiency are different depending on the origin. 90% of SSABs CO2 emissions globally are raw material-based and 10% are fuel-based. In the Nordics the raw material-based emissions are 95% and 5% fuel-based. Below you can read more details about the two types of CO2 emissions and what SSAB does in order to improve. Please, note that CO2 emissions from internal transports are too small compared to raw-material based and fuel based (below 1% of total emissions) and therefor does not show up in the total CO2 emissions overview.


Iron ore-based CO2 emissions accounts for 90% of SSABs total CO2 emissions

SSAB's blast furnaces are among the most efficient in the world and the potential for further emission reductions is very limited with current technology. There is no technology available today that can replace coal as raw material for steel production, which means that it requires technology breakthroughs to achieve significant emission reductions. Industry-wide co-operation is important for identifying new technical solutions that can further decrease the impacts of steel making processes. In the Nordics, SSAB is collaborating with KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Luleå University of Technology, Dalarna University, Swerea, Oulu University, Aalto University, Åbo Akademi Univercity and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. In SSAB Americas, the American Iron and Steel Association is an important partner.

1-5 years
SSAB has a target to reduce CO2 emissions from its steel production. The target is to achieve a lasting reduction of 300,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions by the end of 2020, compared to the 2014 baseline.

Read more about SSAB´s sustainability strategy and targets

5-10 years
Pilot plant facility to be built as part of the HYBRIT initiative, see below

>15 years
HYBRIT – Towards fossil-free steel

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have formed a joint venture (HYBRIT Development AB) with the aim of finding a solution for a fossil-free steel industry. HYBRIT stands for Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology.

Fuel-based CO2 emissions accounts for 10% of SSABs total CO2 emissions

Fuel-related emissions can be reduced by improving energy efficiency, increasing electrification and using biofuels. SSAB has the same opportunity as other industries to work with energy efficiency to reduce CO2 emissions from its operations. However, as emissions from fuels only accounts for a small share of SSAB´s total emissions the total effect of energy efficiency improvements will have a small impact on SSAB´s total emissions.
1-5 years
- Increased energy efficiency for fuels (part of SSAB’s energy target ”a lasting reduction of 400 GWh (both electricity and fuel) in purchased energy”)
- Conversion from oil to natural gas (LNG), as well as investigating future fuel conversions
- Reduce the dependence of fossile fuels by adding biogas into the mix when economically feasible

5-10 years
- Striving to become independent of oil by switching completely to gaseous fuels
- Increased electrification, heat demand below 1000 ° C can be increasingly met by electricity instead of fuel

>15 years

- Monitor the development of future biofuels, consider possible substrates for biogas or DME, etc.