Swedish specialty steel producer SSAB, together with Swedish iron ore producer LKAB and Swedish power company Vattenfall have begun test operations at the world’s first pilot fossil-free steelmaking plant, as part of their fossil-free steel joint venture (JV) HYBRIT, the companies concerned have announced.
The HYBRIT JV aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with fossil free energy and hydrogen and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 10 percent in Sweden and seven percent in Finland.
Over two years ago, the ground was broken to mark the start of building the pilot plant for fossil-free sponge iron with financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency. At the plant, HYBRIT will perform tests in several stages in the use of hydrogen in the direct reduction of iron ore. The hydrogen will be produced at the pilot plant by electrolyzing water with fossil-free electricity. Tests will be carried out between 2020 and 2024, first using natural gas and then hydrogen to be able to compare production results.
“The HYBRIT technology will enable us to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions in steelmaking. We have the chance to revolutionize the entire steel industry and show that net-zero emissions are possible. We must seize this chance,” said Martin Lindqvist, CEO of SSAB.