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Vision of the green industry

HYBRIT - Toward fossil-free steel

In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT - a joint venture project that endeavors to revolutionize steel-making. HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen. The result is unique: The world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology with virtually no carbon footprint.

 

SSAB is aiming at fossil-free steel making with HYBRIT

The steel industry is one of the highest CO2 emitting industries, accounting for 4-7% of CO2 emissions globally. A growing global population and expanding urbanization are expected to trigger a rise in global steel demand by 2050. The carbon footprint in the steel industry is thus a challenge for both Europe and the world.

SSAB’s current steel production system is one of the most carbon-efficient in the world. At the same time, steel production technology means that SSAB is the single biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions both in Sweden and Finland.

In 2016, SSAB, LKAB (Europe’s largest iron ore producer) and Vattenfall (one of Europe’s largest electricity producers) joined forces to create HYBRIT - a joint venture project that endeavors to revolutionize steel-making.

In 2017, a joint venture company, HYBRIT Development AB, was formed, where each partner owns one third of the company. HYBRIT is coordinating the work to develop a steel production process that uses hydrogen instead of coal and coke to allow a direct reduction in CO2 emissions, replacing them with water emissions. The blast furnace will be replaced with a direct reduction process and the hydrogen will come from renewable electricity power enabling fossil-free steel production. This is unique in the world and, combined with the use of the world’s highest quality magnetite-iron ore from LKAB’s mines that are close to the site, makes HYBRIT a serious ambition to revolutionize steel-making forever. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology with virtually no carbon footprint.


Objective: Fossil-free 2045

Approximately 90% of SSAB’s total emissions originate in the blast furnace process. The remaining 10% mainly originates in reheating furnaces, but also in internal transport.

According to our sustainability strategy, SSAB will move stepwise toward a fossil-free steelmaking process through the HYBRIT initiative, but also eliminate other fossil fuel related emissions, making it possible to be fossil-free within the entire operation by 2045.


Three phases

The HYBRIT initiative is divided into three phases:

  1. A pre-feasibility study to be finalized in 2017
  2. Feasibility study and pilot plant trials 2018-2024
  3. Demonstration plant trials 2025-2035.

 

The project faces two major challenges:

  • To develop an effective process to use 100% hydrogen on an industrial scale
  • To produce hydrogen in an energy-efficient way so that it is economically justifiable

 

Since its launch, the HYBRIT initiative has received support from the Swedish Energy Agency for the pre-feasibility study and a four-year research project.


Unique opportunity

The 4-year research project, started in 2017, will carry out R&D work within processes such as fossil fuel-free pellet manufacturing, hydrogen-based direct reduction, and the use of sponge iron with low carbon content in electric arc furnaces, along with providing an electrical power supply system for hydrogen manufacturing and storage.

HYBRIT provides a unique opportunity for Europe with a specialized, innovative steel industry, access to fossil fuel-free electrical power and Europe’s highest-quality iron ore.

However, in order to complete the project, a substantial cooperation effort will be needed from national government, research institutions and universities over a period of 20-25 years. If this initiative is successful, HYBRIT will make a major contribution to a fossil-free society.

Latest News

25 Oct
SSAB aims to be fossil-free by 2045
SSAB increases the company ambitions for sustainability and sets new long-term objectives. By 2045 SSAB aims to be totally fossil-free. However, in the mid-term, the most noticeable sustainability impacts will be achieved by our sustainable offering: 10 million tonnes in annual customer CO2 savings by 2025. 
13 Sep
HYBRIT: CEO recruited for fossil-free steel initiative
Mårten Görnerup has been appointed CEO of the newly established joint venture company HYBRIT Development AB. He joins HYBRIT from Metsol, a technical consultancy firm in the steel sector, where he was CEO. Mårten has a background in metallurgy research. 
28 Jun
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall form joint venture company for fossil-free steel
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall announced today that they have formed a joint venture company to continue to drive the HYBRIT initiative. The three companies will each own one third of the company, which will seek to develop a steelmaking process that emits water instead of carbon dioxide.
19 May
SSAB commits to sustainability onshore and offshore
SSAB has signed a joint statement together with the other members of the initiative Swedish Leadership for Sustainable Development. We want to state clearly that we are responsible for interdependencies between land and sea in our core operations.
27 Feb
The Swedish Energy Agency Is Investing Heavily in a Carbon-Dioxide-Free Steel Industry
SSAB’s, LKAB’s and Vattenfall’s initiative for a carbon-dioxide-free steel industry has gained additional support from The Swedish Energy Agency. Today the agency passed a resolution to finance a 4-year long research project for SEK 99 million. At the same time, the three companies behind the initiative, SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall, have decided to form a corporate joint venture to spur on this initiative.
14 Jun
Swedish Energy Agency supports carbon-dioxide-free ironmaking project
The Swedish Energy Agency has today decided to contribute SEK 6.7 million to support the pre-feasibility study in SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall’s joint initiative for carbon-dioxide-free ironmaking.
4 Apr
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall launch initiative for a carbon-dioxide-free steel industry
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have announced today that they are launching an initiative to solve the carbon dioxide problem in the Swedish steel industry. Together, the companies involved will initiate work to develop a steel production process that emits water rather than carbon dioxide.