SSAB–LKAB–Vattenfall takes step toward fossil-free iron

09 September 2020

SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall are taking a decisive step toward fossil-free steelmaking with the start-up of HYBRIT’s globally unique pilot plant for the production of fossil-free sponge iron. 

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. The framework for HYBRIT also includes a full-scale effort to replace fossil oil with bio oil in one of LKAB’s existing pellet plants in Malmberget in a test period extending until 2021. Preparations are also under way to build a test hydrogen storage facility on LKAB’s land in Svartöberget in Luleå, near the pilot plant.

The HYBRIT initiative has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10% in Sweden and 7% in Finland, as well as contributing to cutting steel industry emissions in Europe and globally. With HYBRIT, SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall aim to create a completely fossil-free value chain from the mine to finished steel and to introduce a completely new technology using fossil-free hydrogen instead of coal and coke to reduce the oxygen in iron ore.