Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has broken ground 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.
Ground was broken where the pilot plant where the joint venture company HYBRIT will be conducting tests on a pilot scale to produce steel using hydrogen instead of coal and coke. This means that the by-product will be water rather than carbon dioxide.
The initiative was given the green light last winter to proceed from feasibility study to pilot plant. Construction work is now starting and the plant is expected to be ready in 2020.
“By starting to build the pilot plant, where we’ll develop and scale up the technology for fossil-free steel production, we’re taking an important step forward towards SSAB’s goal of being fossil-free by 2045. We’re proud of being part of an important and challenging technological shift that can result in our solving part of the climate issue,” says Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB.
HYBRIT has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 10%, and Finland’s by 7%. HYBRIT also has global potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This historical technological shift has been described as crucial if Sweden is going to be able to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
HYBRIT is a joint venture company, owned by three companies SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, that aims to be the first in the world to develop an industrial process for fossil-free, ore-based steel production. The project was initiated in spring 2016 and the goal is to have an industrial process in place by 2035.
HYBRIT has already been awarded financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency on three occasions, for two feasibility studies and one research project. It was recently announced that the Swedish Energy Agency will also be contributing around 37% of the expected SEK 1.4 billion cost of the pilot study phase, with the three owner companies meeting the rest of the cost.