The World Has a New Material – Fossil-Free Steel

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The Swedish company, SSAB AB, formerly known as Svenskt Stål AB, specialized in processing raw material to make steel. The company announced in August 2021 that it succeeded in producing fossil-free steel, which is the first in the world. And the company has delivered it to Volvo Group, one of its first customers. The initial delivery is a vital step in manufacturing a completely fossil-free value chain for steel- and iron-making. It also marks a milestone in the HYBRIT partnership among SSAB, Vattenfall, and LKAB.

HYBRIT technology

SSAB’s Oxelösund factory manufactured the first steel using the HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology). The technology replaces the blast furnace process. The traditional method of making steel is to use coke and carbon to remove the oxygen from the iron ore. With HYBRIT, they use a direct reduction process to produce fossil-free hydrogen from water using electricity.

President and CEO of SSAB Martin Lindqvist says that fossil-free steel, aside from being the first in the world, is a breakthrough for the company. The product is proof that it is possible to reduce the global steel industry’s carbon footprint.

Ibrahim Baylan, Sweden’s Minister of Trade and Industry, added that the new technology would drive the entire industry’s development and serve as an international model.

Their goal is to provide the market by 2026 with fossil-free steel and demonstrate the HYBRIT process on an industrial scale. The technology will potentially reduce the total carbon emissions in Sweden by 10 percent and seven percent in Finland.

The three companies that established HYBRIT introduced the world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron created in their Luleå pilot plant. The sponge iron, or direct reduction iron (DRI), is an old method of producing hydrogen. It was replaced by more economical and efficient processing. However, the interest in sponge iron is growing once again.

SSAB’s management said they will convert their Oxelösund blast furnace into an electric arc furnace by 2025, which will be the first to make the transition.

Volvo Fossil Free
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Volvo’s new carrier vehicle

Volvo is one of the first companies to use fossil-free steel. This October, Volvo revealed the world’s first—a new load carrier vehicle made from fossil-free steel. The autonomous vehicle is perfect for delivering supplies around job sites. With its electric motor, the load carrier will not release harmful emissions.

The vehicle’s overall weight is more than eight tons, including its massive tires. In addition, three tons of green steel contribute to the weight of the load carrier.

Volvo announced that the company will start small-scale production of the load carriers by 2022. In addition, the company plans to use more fossil-free steel as production increases for their various steel components and concept vehicles, including autonomous cars.

HYBRIT technology
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The carrier might be the first vehicle using green steel, but the first material made from fossil-free steel was a beautifully pleated candleholder.

This is excellent news for the planet and countries that are trying to reduce their greenhouse gases. According to a report, an average of 1.85 tons of carbon dioxide is produced during the manufacture of one ton of steel. The material’s production is responsible for eight percent of the world’s annual carbon emissions.