SSAB, the highly-specialised global steel company based in Sweden, has proposed plans to transition the business to fossil-free steel production using hydrogen (H2).

The plan involves a drastic cut in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions with the facility being totally fossil-free by 2045.

A study is currently under way to convert the blast furnace in Oxelösund into an electric arc furnace. This is the first step in adapting the process for the production of fossil-free steel. Conversion will take place in around 2025 and would mean that SSAB can cut its CO2 emissions in Sweden by around 25%.

SSAB today announced that they are also planning to convert the blast furnaces in Raahe and Luleå between 2030-2040 in order to eliminate most of the remaining CO2 emissions and reach the target to be fossil-free by 2045.

Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB, said, “The transition to fossil-free steel production has already started, and we’re now detailing what the road ahead will be like. We believe that this is the right way to go and that it will create many exciting business opportunities for us as a company. SSAB wants to be part of the solution to climate change.”

The transition in SSAB’s business is a consequence of SSAB’s, LKAB’s and Vattenfall’s initiative to find a solution for fossil-free steel production, HYBRIT.

At present the coal and coke used to reduce iron ore into iron are shipped to Sweden from places including Australia. This is a process that generates large volumes of CO2. The idea behind HYBRIT is to use H2, which has been produced with electricity from fossil-free sources and emits only clean water.

Sweden and Finland have a unique opportunity to drive an initiative for fossil-free steel, with good access to climate-smart and fossil-free electrical power, Europe’s highest-quality iron ore and a specialised, innovative steel industry.

To complete this project, however, significant national contributions are still required from the state, research institutions, and universities.