Vision of the green industry

HYBRIT - Toward fossil-free steel

In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative that endeavors to revolutionize steel-making. HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.

The steel industry is one of the highest CO2-emitting industries, accounting for 7% of CO2 emissions globally. A growing global population and an 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 Europe and the rest of the world.

This is why, in 2016, SSAB, LKAB (Europe’s largest iron ore producer) and Vattenfall (one of Europe’s largest electricity producers) joined forces to create HYBRIT, an initiative that endeavors to revolutionize steel making. HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology, with virtually no carbon footprint. 

Sweden has unique conditions for this kind of project, with good access to fossil-free electricity, Europe’s highest-quality iron ore and a specialized, innovative steel industry. HYBRIT has also started to investigate the possibilities of broadening the project to include Finland.

A pre-feasibility study was conducted 2016-2017. The conclusion is that fossil-free steel, given today’s price of electricity, coal and cost of CO2 emissions, would be 20-30% more expensive. With declining prices in electricity from fossil-free sources and increasing costs for CO2 emissions through the European Union Emissions Trading System (ETS), the pre-feasibility study considers that fossil-free steel will, in future, be able to compete in the market with traditional steel. 

The owners (SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall) gave the green light for the next phase of HYBRIT and, during summer 2018, work started on the construction of a globally-unique pilot plant for fossil-free steel production at the SSAB site in Luleå, Sweden.

The total cost for the pilot phase is estimated to be SEK 1.4 billion. The Swedish Energy Agency will contribute more than SEK 500 million toward the pilot phase and the three owners, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, will each contribute one third of the remaining costs. The Swedish Energy Agency has earlier contributed SEK 60 million to the pre-feasibility study and a four-year-long research project.

Already before a solution for fossil-free steel making is in place, SSAB aims to cut our CO2 emissions in Sweden by 25% by as early as 2025, through conversion of the blast furnace in Oxelösund, Sweden, to an electric arc furnace. Between 2030-2040, the plan is to also convert the blast furnaces in Luleå, Sweden and Raahe, Finland to eliminate most of the remaining CO2 emissions and to reach the target of being fossil-free by 2045.

To be able to carry out the HYBRIT initiative, however, significant national contributions are still required from the state, research institutions and universities. There has to be good access to fossil-free electricity, improved infrastructure and rapid expansion of high voltage networks, research initiatives, faster permit processes and the government’s active support for the pilot and demonstration facilities and long-term support at EU level.


Read more on www.hybritdevelopment.com


Latest News

4 Dec
SSAB initiates study in Finland for fossil-free steel
SSAB starts a study in Finland for fossil-free steelmaking. In line with the HYBRIT project, SSAB is taking the next step for a completely fossil-free steel value chain. In partnership with Gasum, Neste and St1, SSAB is initiating an Energy4HYBRIT prefeasibility study supported by Business Finland to investigate the use of fossil-free energy sources, primarily biomaterial side-streams, to replace fossil fuels in certain steelmaking processes, for example rolling processes. The Raahe mill will act as SSAB’s pilot.
14 Nov
SSAB to be first to market with fossil-free steel
Global steel company SSAB plans to be the first company in the world to get fossil-free steel onto the market. The plan for transitioning to iron-ore based fossil-free steel production was presented to more than 400 customers and key players in the industry, in conjunction with SSAB’s Swedish Steel Prize seminars this week in Stockholm.
3 Oct
HYBRIT: SEK 200 million invested in pilot plant for storage of fossil-free hydrogen in Luleå
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, the owners behind the HYBRIT initiative, are investing SEK 150 million and the Swedish Energy Agency is contributing almost SEK 50 million towards the construction of a storage facility for hydrogen at the HYBRIT pilot plant for fossil-free steel. The investment is an important step towards the goal of fossil-free iron and steel production.
24 Sep
HYBRIT highlighted as one of the most ambitious initiatives at UN Climate Action Summit
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, the owners behind HYBRIT initiative, will join the Leadership Group for Industry Transition that was launched today at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. HYBRIT was presented as one of the most ambitious and most transformative initiatives to tackle climate change. The aim with the Leadership Group is to accelerate transition to lowcarbon pathways in hard to abate sectors in line with the goals of Paris Agreement.
19 Sep
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall to advocate for net zero emissions at UN Climate Week
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, the owners behind the HYBRIT initiative, will participate in the Climate Week NYC and UN Climate Action Summit in New York. The message they will bring is that it is possible to reach net zero emissions in the iron and steel industry and energy sector.
21 Aug
CDP ranks SSAB world’s best at switching to fossil-free steel production
Analysis company CDP has ranked SSAB the best company in the world at switching to fossil-free steel production, In its report, CDP has analyzed how well prepared 20 of the world’s biggest listed steel companies are for switching to production resulting in low carbon dioxide emissions. SSAB was ranked second the last time this analysis was performed by CDP back in 2016.
20 Nov
The HYBRIT project is in an exciting phase
HYBRIT, the initiative for fossil free steel that we have taken together with LKAB and Vattenfall, is in an exciting phase. After pre-studies proving the technology we intend to use both feasible and probably commercially viable, we decided early this spring to start the exciting phase of planning, building and conducting test campaigns in a pilot plant. This summer, we celebrated the construction start of the pilot plant together with the Swedish Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Swedish Energy Agency, and the construction work is now under way.