Toward fossil-free steel production 2045
SSAB's production system is one of the most carbon-efficient blast furnace-based systems in the world. At the same time, today's technology for iron production means that SSAB is Sweden's single largest carbon dioxide emitter. Considering this, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have initiated an industrial development project to try to find solutions using hydrogen-based iron production. With a so-called direct reduction, hydrogen will be used to separate the iron from the oxygen, without using carbon. The final product will then be iron and water.
To succeed, commitment from the state, government and universities is needed in the developmental work. If the initiative is successful, it will provide a unique opportunity for Sweden to change to a more sustainable society and a major contribution to Sweden being able to achieve set climate goals for 2045.
HYBRIT stands for Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology.
The project is financed partly by the companies themselves but also with the support of the Swedish Energy Agency.
HYBRIT is divided into three phases
- A feasibility study in which all conditions are mapped, 2016–2017.
- Experiments in a pilot study, 2018–2024.
- Trials in demonstration plant, 2026–2035.
Following the preliminary study, in June 2017, the companies formed a Joint Venture company for the project, HYBRIT Development AB. On February 1, 2018, the pilot study was given a green light and on June 20, the ground was broken for the world-unique pilot plant built on the SSAB site in Luleå. The pilot plant was started on August 31, 2020. It produces small quantities of fossil-free sponge iron. The lessons learned from that production will form the basis for a demonstration plant, which will be in place by 2026. There, iron will be produced under the same conditions as in a full-scale plant, but with limited capacity.
With HYBRIT technology, SSAB aims to be the first steel company in the world to bring fossil-free steel to the market already in 2026. If HYBRIT becomes successful, it means that Sweden can reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by ten percent and Finland by seven percent.
- HYBRIT's website: www.hybritdevelpoment.se
- First in fossil-free steel. Using HYBRIT Technology (ssab.com)
- HYBRIT – Towards Fossil-Free Steel (lkab.com)
- FAQs: the big questions answered (ssab.com)
When will the steel industry become fossil-free?
Intervju with Christina Båge Friborg, Sustainability Director at SSAB (Rejlers Play, August 2021).
Article in "Nordic Steel and Mining Rewiew", December 2019:
Hybrit will revolutionise the world's steel industry (bergsmannen.se)