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SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall form joint venture company for fossil-free steel

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have announced that they have formed a Swedish joint venture (JV) company to continue to drive the HYBRIT initiative. The three companies will each own one-third of the company, which will seek to develop a steelmaking process that emits water instead of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Slabs are rolled into plate in the four-high rolling mill in Oxelösund (photo courtesy SSAB).

Slabs are rolled into a plate in the four-high rolling mill in Oxelösund (photo courtesy SSAB).

Last spring, Swedish iron and steel majors SSAB and LKAB, along with the Swedish state-owned energy major Vattenfall launched “HYBRIT – the way to fossil-free steel”, an initiative seeking to solve the carbon dioxide (CO2) issue in the Swedish steel industry.

By replacing the conventional blast furnace process that uses coal and coke with a process based on hydrogen gas, the aim is to develop a process that emits water rather than carbon dioxide (CO2).

Today, the companies announced the formation of a joint venture company to continue to drive the HYBRIT initiative. The three companies will each own one-third of the company and a recruitment process is underway to appoint a CEO.

HYBRIT is a very important initiative for SSAB and a fossil-free Sweden by 2045. A joint venture company will enable us to work together effectively to eliminate the root cause of carbon dioxide emissions in the steel industry, said Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB.

Since its launch, the initiative has received various support from the Swedish Energy Agency, including funding towards a four-year research project. The initiative is divided into three phases: a preliminary study up to the end of 2017, followed by research and pilot plant trials up to 2024. Finally, up to 2035, the plan is to perform trials in a full-scale demonstration facility.

Our establishment of a joint venture to develop HYBRIT indicates our conviction that it is possible to develop a fossil-free production chain all the way from the mine to the steelworks. If we’re successful, this will be a technology breakthrough that can make a global contribution to significantly limiting climate change, said Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB.

Sweden is uniquely qualified to undertake this initiative. It has a specialised and innovative steel industry, access to climate-smart and renewable electrical power, and the best-quality iron ore in Europe.

By taking this step, we are making clear our activities and determination to find solutions to the climate issue. Vattenfall can see that electrification of the industry and climate-smart hydrogen gas have an important role to play, said Magnus Hall, President and CEO of Vattenfall.

However, the trio also highlight that significant national contribution is still required from the state, research institutions and universities to achieve the objectives of the project, which if it is successful will make a significant contribution to the national goal of a fossil-free Sweden.

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