Transforming from a position of strength

SSAB’s board of directors took the decision to invest SEK 6.2 billion in an electric arc furnace (EAF) in Oxelösund in June 2023. It was the starting point of the transformation of the Nordic production system. After a policy decision in 2022, two mini-mills are planned until 2030 in the Nordics, one in Luleå in Sweden and one in Raahe in Finland. Investment decisions will be made around 2024 and 2026 for the respective sites, and it is only when the decisions are made that the planned steel mills can become a reality. SSAB Americas plays an important role in the transformation, providing unique knowledge and experience from EAF steelmaking. SSAB Americas have been spearheading SSAB Zero®, introduced in the market in 2023.

Fossil-free steel shipments

The production of fossil-free steel has already started and 500 tonnes were shipped to strategic customers in 2022. In 2023, our new SSAB Zero® steel produced in Iowa, USA, was introduced. When transforming our Nordic sites, we will benefit from our experience from USA, where we use EAFs in the steel production at our sites in Montpelier and Mobile. This includes the most advanced quenched and tempered (Q&T) grades.

Key performance improvements

The transformation will increase the capacity for premium products, improve our cost position, shorten lead times and enable fossil-free steelmaking. The plan is to transform the sites in Luleå and Raahe into new cost-effective mini-mills, with electric arc furnaces, integrated rolling and further processing. The sites in Borlänge and Hämeenlinna will be further developed in line with the new production processes.

Sites well suited for a new future

The present production sites have great advantages for the future. The sites are large, which means that it will be possible to run old and new systems in parallel during the transition period. Important logistics capabilities exist from the start, with direct access to harbors, railway and road transports as well as raw material handling capabilities.

Luleå


  • • Blast furnace-based steel production

  • • Crude steel production capacity: 2.3 million tonnes

  • • Employees: 1,200

  • • Established: 1941

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Reducing the emissions with around 90 percent

From the operations in Luleå, the planned changes will lead to a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide by approximately 2.8 million tons annually, which corresponds to an emission reduction of approximately 90% compared to today’s operations. SSAB also works actively with indirect carbon dioxide emissions. Our combined approach aims to create a fossil-free value chain together with our partners and customers. The transformation will mean increased flexibility, shorter lead-times and that carbon dioxide emissions from SSAB's own operations will be largely eliminated.

Emissions of pollutants to water will be significantly reduced as a result of blast furnaces, coking plant and existing steel plant are being decommissioned. The emissions of pollutants into the air from the existing operations will cease completely, which means that the emissions of dust from these facilities and from the associated supply of coal and coke, disappear. The construction of a brand new facility enables the application of modern purification technology to minimize the emissions that will arise from the future business.

Gradual phasing out of existing facilities

The existing blast furnace based production will be in operation during the period when the new facility is built, as well as during a transition period when the new production set-up is gradually put into operation in parallel with existing production being gradually phased out. The mini-mill will be built within SSAB’s current area of operation on Svartön.

Fossil-free sponge iron and scrap

The main raw materials in the future production system will be fossil-free sponge iron and recycled steel scrap, both from our own operations and from external sources. The scrap is classified according to national and international classification systems, so that the alloying elements of the scrap are used to such a high degree as possible.

From several days to a few hours

The new steel production also means that SSAB is transitioning to a more resource-efficient manufacturing by bringing different processes together in a cohesive flow. Production time from melting of raw materials into finished rolled and refined product, will be about three hours, that compare with today’s production system, which includes further processing in Borlänge, where the production time is a few days.

An approximate location of the future business, where virtually all functions are located underneath same roof. The entire facility for the future operations is approximately 1,500 meters long.

Important reduction of energy usage

Within the framework of the transformation, plans are made for an energy-efficient facility that reduces the total energy use by approximately 70% compared to today’s operations. The business starts from an annual consumption of energy of about 11.5 TWh to about 3.5 TWh and from an energy mix based on coal, coke and electricity to mainly use electricity.

Recycling of residual energy

Residual energy from the process will occur, of both high and low value. There are ongoing investigations into the extent to which these residual energies can be recycled in a future district heating system or to others types of energy recovery. SSAB has entered into an overall declaration of intent with Luleå Municipality and the municipal companies on common overall solutions for a fossil-free industrial transition.

Oxelösund


  • • Blast furnace-based steel production, heavy plate

  • • Crude steel poduction capacity: 1.5 million tonnes

  • • Employees: 2,400

  • • Established: 1913

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The starting point for the green transition

In June 2023, the Board took the decision to invest SEK 6.2 billion in the conversion of the steelwork in Oxelösund, Sweden. The investment comprises a new electric arc furnace and raw material handling in Oxelösund. In addition, there will be investments in the future power line and restoration costs. The decision is the historic starting point for the green conversion of SSAB’s Nordic strip production system. It will allow us to reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 3% when completed. The aim is to start production of steel without carbon emissions, based on recycled steel and sponge iron, around 2026.

Decommissioning the coking plant and blast furnaces

The transformation of Oxelösund includes closing down the coking plant and two blast furnaces, a new infrastructure for biofuels and expansion of scrap handling and efficient material logistics. The rolling mill and Q&T lines will remain.

Need for fossil-free electricity

The conversion in Oxelösund is progressing. In 2023, the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate gave the green light for a new 130kV power line from Hedenlunda in Flen to SSAB in Oxelösund and construction on the new EAF and raw material handling began.

Borlänge


  • • Strip products

  • • Employees: 1,800

  • • Established: 1878

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Investing for the future

SSAB in Borlänge plans to invest in several new production processes in the next few years to be ready for the transition to the new Nordic production system. Preparations for the transformation to fossil-free steel production is ongoing. They will affect the production flow at receiving systems for rolls at the site in Borlänge. They will also affect how the products are produced, packaged and transported. The changes planned in Borlänge will be ready by 2028 to support the overall transformation. The goal of the conversion is that SSAB Borlänge in 2030 is well equipped for the needs of the future. Today, SSAB in Borlänge has unique processes and products and it is important to continue to deliver good quality at a high level throughout the transition period.

A leading hub for processing and distribution

SSAB Borlänge will prepare to handle coils from mini-mills and distribute coil instead of slabs. Fossil fuels that are used today will be gradually replaced by fossil-free energy sources. We will need to ensure the availability of fossil-free energy sources, such as electricity and biogas, in the future. As part of the transformation, the hot strip mill in Borlänge will be discontinued, though it will be operational un-til at least 2030, when the new mini-mills in Luleå and Raahe will be operational.

Raahe


  • • Blast furnace-based steel production, heavy plate and strip products

  • • Crude steel production capacity: 2.6 million tonnes

  • • Employees: 2,600

  • • Established: 1960

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Transforming Finland’s largest source of CO2 emissions

At the Raahe site, SSAB has strived to minimize the environmental impact and we have reduced our emissions and improved our material efficiency step-by-step. The site is Finland’s largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions today. By changing our production technology, we can reduce emissions by 90%. This means a new future for steel and the biggest change in steel production in centuries. It corresponds to a reduction of 3.5 million tonnes of Finland’s total carbon dioxide emissions per year and enables Finland’s climate goals.

Design work for Raahe’s planned new steel production process is currently underway and SSAB is applying for a permit to convert our current operations to fossil-free steel production.

Renewable energy will be needed

An Environmental impact assessment (EIA) report has been prepared on the basis of the opinions and statements given about the power line project’s environmental impact assessment program, as well as the investigations made.

The environmental permit was submitted in 2023 and is currently in fast-track handling. The 400 kV grid connection project is proceeding and is expected to take about 1.5-2 years. The construction will most likely start in the beginning of 2025. The grid connection will be built on Fingrid’s future substation in Hanhela, Pyhäjoki and is about 24 km long.

During the EIA procedure, the residents of the surrounding area and various stakeholders, such as municipalities, environmental organizations have been able to participate and share their views on the various options. North Ostrobothnia ELY Center has checked the adequacy and quality of the EIA report.

Steel mill of the future

A modern production site will be built in Raahe, where side ovens and vacuums, thin die casting and rolling are integrated into the electric arc furnaces without the need to heat the slabs. The whole process is efficient and saves energy. With the new process, the current operations of the Raahe site in terms of traditional iron, steel and strip rolling production will be discontinued.

Parallel production lines during the transition

The change will take place in the current site area. The intention is that the production capacity remains approximately the same as today. The new production facility will be built on the same site as the existing one while the current production continuous to operate. The current and the new production will run side by side until the current production finally is phased out.

Hämeenlinna


  • • Strip and tubular products

  • • Employees: 1,000

  • • Established: 1972

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The future role of the Hämeenlinna site

When transforming the Nordic production system, the Hämeenlinna site and the tube mills will continue to serve as downstream processers of products from Raahe. The products made in Raahe will become coils, which will in turn go either to the customer or to Hämeenlinna for further processing into more advanced steel products and for distribution. Fossil fuels that are used today will be gradually replaced by fossil-free energy sources, and we will need to ensure the availability of fossil free energy sources. The Hämeenlinna site covers 54.6 hectares and has 7.8 km of railroad track. The transformation of the Hämeenlinna site will be dependent on which of the planned mini-mills in Luleå and Raahe will be built first.

Integrated and efficient logistics

There is a daily connection between Raahe and Hämeenlinna. A megatrain, comprising 53 wagons and weighing 5,200 tonnes when fully loaded, regularly takes steel coils from Raahe to Hämeenlinna for processing. The megatrain transports more than a million tonnes of steel annually. Hämeenlinna will be further developed in line with the new production processes. However, the close connection and roles of Raahe and Hämeenlinna as well as those of smaller processing sites in Finland will continue.

Premium products still in focus

The focus in production and development work has been on premium products, which give added customer value. Both Raahe and Hämeenlinna are IATF certified units (International Automotive Task Force) by automotive industry.

Montpelier and Mobile


  • • Scrap based electric arc furnace steel production, heavy plate

  • • Employees: 650 in Mobile, Alabama and 450 in Montpelier, Iowa

  • • Annual steel production capacity: approx 2.5 (1.29 respectively)

  • • Both SSAB Alabama and SSAB Iowa were constructed and opened by IPSCO, acquired by SSAB in 2007. Alabama opened in 2001 and Iowa opened in 1997.

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Market leadership

SSAB is one of the largest North American producers of steel plate and coil, serving many industrial markets including energy, construction, agriculture and transportation. SSAB is committed to being North America’s steel supplier of choice, with five state-of-the-art facilities strategically located in key regions across the U.S. and Canada. Our production sites are located in Iowa and Alabama.

Modern electric arc furnace (EAF) setup

The North American production base is characterized by industry-best quality and a leading cost position. The modern production facilities utilize EAFs and 99 percent of the raw material is scrap metal. The durability and high strength of plate and coil produced by SSAB Americas means it lasts a long time, adding years to the lifecycle of products and reducing customers’ carbon footprint.

Ensuring SSAB’s lead in zero emission steel

SSAB Americas plays an important part on our journey towards fossil-free steel. SSAB Zero, introduced in 2023, is being produced at our Montpelier site. It was chosen for the availability of green electricity (wind towers) and the ability to source biogas and biocarbon. SSAB Americas have commitments for Zero from several customers in the energy, heavy transport and heavy equipment sectors.

Flexible mini-mills close to the customers

Today, SSAB has close partnerships with end users and fabricators to develop unique customized products. Our flexible production system also allows for a wide range of our new SSAB Zero products. Initially, slabs from the EAF and rolling mill in Montpelier are shipped to our European rolling mills. Moving forward with SSAB Zero, the output can be extended to heavy plate products and plates to the quenching lines at the site in Mobile.

Favorable market dynamics

Spending on infrastructure is driving demand in the US market, thus creating future business opportunities for SSAB. Investments in energy production, with support from the Inflation Reduction Act, IRA, means that the expansion of wind power continues with continued availability of green electricity.

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