SSAB is taking the lead in decarbonizing the steel industry

SSAB is taking the lead in decarbonizing the steel industry, which today generates 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions.HYBRIT is a new revolutionary steelmaking technology. With HYBRIT technology, SSAB aims to be the first steel company in the world to bring fossil-free steel to the market already in 2026. SSAB will be practically fossil free by 2045.

Together with our partners and customers, SSAB aims to create a fossil-free value chain, from the mine to the end-product.

What is HYBRIT?

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

Our goal is to reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%.

Why Fossil-free steel?

The steel industry is one of the highest CO2-emitting industries, accounting for 7% of CO2 emissions globally. A growing global population, an increasingly higher standard of living and greater urbanization will trigger a rise in global steel demand. Recycled scrap will not sufficiently meet the growing demand for new steel. The carbon footprint in the steel industry is thus a challenge for Europe and the rest of the world.

SSAB is already one of the world’s most CO2-efficient steel companies. However, we want to do more. Sweden has unique conditions for this kind of project, with good access to fossil-free electricity, the highest-quality iron ore and a specialized, innovative steel industry. SSAB has also started to investigate the possibilities of broadening the initiative to include Finland.

The HYBRIT initiative will contribute to reaching the global climate goals under the Paris Agreement and the national climate goals in Sweden and Finland.

Our goal is to reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%. We believe that by taking the lead and showing that it is possible to decarbonize the steel industry, others will follow. The potential is enormous.

All SSAB production sites will be converted

SSAB will cut its CO2 emissions in Sweden by 25% by as early as 2025, through the conversion of the blast furnaces in Oxelösund, Sweden, to an electric arc furnace. Between 2030-2040, the plan is to convert the blast furnaces in Luleå, Sweden and Raahe, Finland to eliminate most of the remaining CO2 emissions.

The company anticipates that our Iowa operations will be powered by renewable energy by 2022. Our Americas operations will also be able to offer fossil-free steel products starting in 2026, utilizing the sponge iron developed using HYBRIT technology and produced in Sweden. At the same time, SSAB has started the process of phasing out fossil fuels used in rolling mills and heat treatment plants throughout the company, to reach the goal of becoming fossil-free by 2045.

Phases

2016 - 2017

Pre-feasability study 


2016
  • Prefeasability study with support from Swedish Energy Agency
  • 4-year R&D project with support from Swedish Energy

2017
A joint venture company between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall
2018 - 2024

Feasability study pilot plant trials


Feb 2018
Decision for pilot phase

2019 - 2021
Fossil-free pellets trial

2020-2024
Hydrogen-based reduction and smelting trials

2021/22 - 2024
Hydrogen storage
2025 - 2045

Commercial volume plant trials and transformation


2025
  • Transformation - BF* to EAF** at SSAB Oxelösund
  • HYBRIT demo plant

2026
SSAB fossil-free steel on market

2030 - 2040
Transformation - BFs to EAFs at SSAB Raahe & SSAB Luleå

2045
SSAB fossil-free

* BF = Blast furnace. **EAF = Electric arc frunace

What is fossil-free steel?

  • Fossil-free steel is steel produced using HYBRIT technology
  • Fossil-free steel is a premium product without a fossil CO2 footprint. This means no fossil CO2 emissions during production and that we use fossil-free sponge iron
  • Using fossil-free sponge iron as external input material, only internal scrap from fossil-free steel production, fossil-free electricity and no fossil fuels

Benefits of fossil-free steel

Conversion to fossil-free steel is driven by customer demand, where end-users are increasingly seeking sustainable materials. As vehicles and other machinery are reducing or eliminating their emissions in use, the materials used in these products will have the main impact on lifecycle CO2 emissions.

This means that the development of fossil-free steels is creating business opportunities and competitive advantages for both SSAB and its customers.

How much will fossil-free steel cost?

We believe that fossil-free steel is a sought after premium product for several customer segments. Factors like the price of electricity, coking coal and carbon dioxide emissions are crucial for the possibility of making fossil-free steel commercially viable in the long term. We are convinced that fossil-free steel will be able to compete with traditional steel in the future.

How will fossil-free steel affect steel qualities and performance

Although we are talking about fossil-free steel, the major change in the process is actually replacing the traditional iron-making process. The downstream conversion of iron into steel will use the same advanced SSAB technology as today, which means that the product properties will not be affected/will remain unchanged.

Do you want to discuss of the possibilities of fossil-free steel in your products

Videos and presentations

A piece of the future - Episode 1. The HYBRIT initiative

Watch the video to learn more about the HYBRIT project and the journey towards Fossil-free steel.

HYBRIT plant start-up (in Swedish)

Want to know more?

In order to carry out the HYBRIT initiative, significant contributions are needed from social entities including government, research institutions and universities. The project's success will be impacted by access to fossil-free electricity, improved infrastructure and rapid expansion of high voltage networks, faster permit processes and the government’s active support for the pilot and demonstration facilities and long-term support at EU level.

Are you curious about HYBRIT and want to know more?

More about

HYBRIT Development

HYBRIT Development is a joint venture company of SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall. The three companies each own one third of the company, which is seeking to develop a steelmaking process that emits water instead of CO2.

LKAB

LKAB is an international and high-tech mining and minerals group that mines and upgrades the unique iron ore of northern Sweden for the global steel market. Sustainability is core to our business and our ambition is to be one of the industry’s most innovative, resource-efficient and responsible companies.

Vattenfall

Vattenfall is a leading European energy company, which for more than 100 years has electrified industries, supplied energy to people’s homes and modernised our way of living through innovation and cooperation. We now want to make fossil-free living possible within one generation.

Sep 2 2020

SSAB joins the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance

SSAB, using HYBRIT technology, which endeavors to revolutionize steelmaking, aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. SSAB has now also joined the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance.

Aug 31 2020

HYBRIT: SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall to start up the world’s first pilot plant for fossil-free steel

Today, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall are taking a decisive step toward fossil-free steelmaking with the start-up of HYBRIT’s globally unique pilot plant for the production of fossil-free sponge iron. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven started up the plant together with Isabella Lövin, Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB, Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB and Magnus Hall, President and CEO of Vattenfall. SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall aim to create a complete value chain for fossil-free steel.

Aug 26 2020

Media invitation: HYBRIT – the world’s very first pilot plant for fossil-free steel is now to start operation

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall will be starting the test operation of HYBRIT’s globally unique pilot plant for the production of fossil-free sponge iron, a decisive step toward fossil-free steel production, on Monday, August 31 in Luleå. This plant represents an important step in the creation of a totally fossil-free value chain for steelmaking. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and Minister of Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin are attending the opening.