Green light for fossil-free steel in Oxelösund
December 23, 2020 10:00 CET 6 min read
The Land and Environment Court has decided to grant SSAB Oxelösund an environmental permit to convert its steelmaking operations and reduce carbon dioxide activities by 2025. This also means that we will take a step nearer towards fossil-free steel production across SSAB in 2045.
This is an historic decision in many ways. It is the first time that Oxelösund has applied for changes in production to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Use of sponge iron made through HYBRIT technology, together with scrap iron as feedstock instead of iron ore and coal, will enable SSAB to reduce emissions in Oxelösund by around 80%.
“This is fantastic news and I’m really pleased that we can now really get started on building to make fossil-free steel. We can now start to reach a stronger and more sustainable world”, says a delighted Kristina Branteryd, Environment Manager at SSAB Oxelösund, adding that:
“It’s one of the best written judgments I’ve ever seen and I’m overjoyed. It entails tough conditions that will involve a lot of work but nothing that we won’t manage.”
The timeline was tight but the court considered the application efficiently and set up timeframes that all parties were able to keep to. The application has been considered and the referral bodies have had the opportunity to submit views to which SSAB has responded on several occasions. The entire application process, including consultation with the public and the authorities, has taken about two years to work its way through.
“It’s important for us to have effective and expedient evaluation of permits to avoid the risk of emitting unnecessary carbon dioxide and also to give parties an opportunity to have their say,” says Kristina Branteryd. The fact that we will now make these changes in our operations will hopefully secure production in the region. Oxelösund has a century-old steelmaking tradition and conversion to more sustainable production will safeguard operations for a long time ahead.
The application consisted of a string of various documents that describe SSAB’s operations in Oxelösund. The top document describes why we are seeking a permit. There is also a technical description of the entire facility and an environmental impact assessment of operations. Additionally, there is a string of underlying reports describing the impact of operations on the surroundings, emissions into the air and water, noise studies, risk surveys and so on.
The HYBRIT initiative was launched in spring 2016 with the aim to develop the world’s first fossil-free ore-based steelmaking technology. The goal is to offer the first fossil-free steel as early as in 2026. Use of hydrogen instead of coke and coal in the steelmaking process means the emission of water instead of carbon dioxide. The initiative has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 10%. Hybrit Development AB is a joint venture owned by steelmaker SSAB, iron ore producer LKAB and energy company Vattenfall.