The Swedish Energy agency is investing in a four-year long research project to form a carbon dioxide (CO2)-free steel industry.
The three companies behind the project, SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall, launched the initiative to solve the CO2 issue in the Swedish steel industry back in the spring of last year.
The project’s goal is to come up with a process that emits water instead of CO2 by using hydrogen (H2) instead of the current procedure that’s based on blast furnaces burning coal and coke.
The research project has been allocated 102m Swedish crowns ($11.3m), with The Swedish Energy Agency providing SEK 56m ($6.2m) of this amount and the three companies contributing the remaining SEK 46m ($5.1m).
The Swedish Energy Agency’s Director General, Erik Brandsma, commented, “One of the biggest challenges we face with global warming is reducing industrial use of fossil fuels. Investigating how to replace coal and coke with H2 in the Swedish iron and steel industries is both an obligation and a unique global opportunity to improve our competitiveness in the future.”
”We have a unique opportunity in front of us to break new ground and make a valuable contribution toward a fossil fuel-free Sweden.”
Magnus Hall, CEO and Group Manager of Vattenfall
Funding from The Swedish Energy Agency has oppened the door for the launch of a number of new research projects by organisations such as KTH, Luleå University of Technology, SWEREA MEFOS, Lund University, Stockholm Environmental Institute, and RISE, who will work toward the goal of a CO2-free steel industry.
Magnus Hall, CEO and Group Manager of Vattenfall, stated, “The announcement is extremely positive news. It’s a big help in our challenge to find a long-term solution to the CO2 problem, where Vattenfall will be contributing in the areas of electrification and sustainable H2 production. We have a unique opportunity in front of us to break new ground and make a valuable contribution toward a fossil fuel-free Sweden.”
The initiative is divided into three phases: a pre-feasibility study that will run through the end of 2017, followed by research and testing in a pilot plant through 2024, and the final step, which involves carrying out testing in a full-scale demo plant through 2035.
Sweden is ideally suited for this type of initiative with its specialised, innovative steel industry, access to fossil fuel-free electrical power, and Europe’s highest-quality iron ore.