SSAB aims to create a fossil-free value chain together with our partners and customers and secure our position as the driving force in the green transition of the steel industry. Already in 2021, we delivered the first fossil-free steel, a steel made from hydrogen-reduced iron produced at HYBRIT´s pilot plant in Luleå Sweden, to our customer Volvo Group. In 2026, we plan to bring fossil-free steel to market as a commercial product.
SSAB fossil-free steel on market
Transformation - BFs to minimills with EAFs at SSAB Raahe and SSAB Luleå
The first step toward fossil-free steel starts with the direct reduction pilot plant at the SSAB site in Luleå, Sweden. The plant is the first of its kind and started up in 2020. In the pilot plant, the development of the process of reducing iron ore using fossil-free hydrogen will continue. Adjoining pilot plant, an underground hydrogen storage pilot facility is operational from 2022. During 2020, the world’s first fossil-free iron ore pellets were produced at the LKAB site in Malmberget.
In addition to the development of the pilot plant, we are preparing a demonstration plant in Gällivare, next to the LKAB iron ore mine. The plan is to complete the demonstration plant in 2025, at the same time as SSAB’s blast furnace in Oxelösund, Sweden, is converted to an electric arc furnace. This will enable us to produce iron ore-based, fossil-free steel on commercial terms in 2026. In the end of 2021, the HYBRIT was granted support from the EU Innovation Fund, as one out of seven European projects using breakthrough technologies within, for example, energyintensive industries.
In January 2022, SSAB’s Board took a policy decision to fundamentally transform Nordic strip production and accelerate the company’s green transition. The decision was taken against the background of strongly growing demand for fossil-free steel. The plan is to replace the existing system with new mini-mill technology, which will result in a broader product program and improved cost position. The ambition is to largely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions in our own operations around 2030, 15 years earlier than previously announced. However, to achieve this ambition, the necessary infrastructure, access to fossil-free electricity in particular, must be in place in time.
The decision means that the sites in Luleå and Raahe will be transformed into cost-effective mini-mills, with electric arc furnaces and rolling mills. The sites in Borlänge and Hämeenlinna will be further developed in line with the new production processes. The transformation will take place during the next ten years, considerably faster than the earlier objective of 2045. The first step will be to develop a more detailed transformation plan for each production site. The order of site transformation will depend, among other things, on the availability of the necessary infrastructure, in particular access to competitive electricity. The plan means all SSAB’s emissions in our own operations will be largely eliminated at the beginning of the next decade.
SSAB Europe is contributing to the University of Oulu’s ongoing fundraising campaign with a EUR 100,000 donation for research in technical sciences at the university. SSAB and the University of Oulu have had close cooperation since the 1980s and SSAB is currently one of the university’s key partners. These days, cooperation is particularly related to steel research, the development of new demanding steel grades and to fossil-free steelmaking.
SSAB starts a partnership with Epiroc, a leader within mining and infrastructure industry supplies, on fossil-free steel that Epiroc plans to use in its mining equipment production.
The HYBRIT-initiative driven by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall has now officially received support from the European Union, as one of seven innovative projects under the Innovation Fund. The project receives in total €143 million for an industrial- and commercial-scale demonstration of a complete value chain for hydrogen-based iron- and steelmaking, from mine to fossil-free steel.