Steel helps raise living standards around the world, but the steel industry is also one of the highest carbon-dioxide-emitting industries, accounting for seven per cent of global emissions. A growing global population and expanding urbanisation are expected to trigger a rise in global steel demand.
The carbon footprint in the steel industry is thus a challenge for the world. Individual companies are not strong when they stand alone. In 2016, Swedish companies SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative that endeavours to revolutionise steelmaking.
HYBRIT stands for Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology. Using HYBRIT technology, coking coal traditionally needed for ore-based steelmaking is replaced with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free ore-based steelmaking technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.
Because when fossil-free electricity and hydrogen replace coke and carbon for iron ore reduction, the by-product of the process will be water and not carbon dioxide. The goal is to create a completely fossil-free value chain, from the mine to the finished steel product.
HYBRIT has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by ten per cent. The objective is to have a completely fossil-free process for steelmaking by 2035, but the first fossil-free steel will be on the market as early as 2026.