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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 – 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

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.
20 Jun
HYBRIT: Construction start for globally-unique pilot plant for creating fossil-free steel
Today, the ground will be broken for HYBRIT’s world-first pilot plant for creating fossil-free steel, with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven as keynote speaker. SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall have, together with the Swedish Energy Agency, decided to invest SEK 1,4 billion in the pilot plant. This means that the HYBRIT initiative now enters its second phase. The goal is a fossil-free, ore-based steel production, on an industrial scale. 
20 Jun
SSAB takes the next step towards being fossil-free
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven breaks the ground today for a globally-unique pilot plant for HYBRIT, the initiative from SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall for fossil-free steel. The three owner companies, with the support of the Swedish Energy Agency, recently decided to join forces to invest SEK 1.4 billion in the pilot plants, one of which will be built at SSAB’s site in Luleå. This means that SSAB is taking the next important step towards the goal of being totally fossil-free by 2045.
18 Jun
HYBRIT’s World-first Pilot Plant Wins Energy Agency’s Backing
HYBRIT—SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall’s project for creating fossil-free steel—has been granted SEK 528 million in financial backing by the Swedish Energy Agency. HYBRIT has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by ten percent, and Finland’s emissions by seven percent. For Sweden’s part, the reduction has been described as crucial to the country’s efforts to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement.
1 Feb
SSAB gears up for fossil-free steel production
SSAB is gearing up to transition the business to fossil-free steel production, and today the company published a plan that involves a drastic cut in CO2 emissions even before a solution for fossil-free steel has been found. The goal is to be totally fossil-free by 2045. The transition in SSAB’s business is a consequence of the SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall initiative to find a solution for fossil-free steel production, HYBRIT. 
1 Feb
SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall to build a globally-unique pilot plant for fossil-free steel
SSAB’s, LKAB’s and Vattenfall’s pre-feasibility study is giving the green light for the fossil-free steel initiative, HYBRIT. For the first time in 1,000 years, there is an opportunity for a technology shift and, as early as this spring, a globally-unique pilot plant for fossil-free steel is being planned for Northern Sweden. The planning and designing is expected to cost SEK 20 million and it recently became clear that the Swedish Energy Agency will finance parts of the project.The initiative could reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 10% and those in Finland by 7%. The reduction in Sweden has been described as being crucial if Sweden is to be able to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
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.