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Sweden Steel-ing the Spotlight: Volvo Cars to test fossil-free steel from Swedish steel maker, SSAB

Toronto, Ontario — Swedish steel maker SSAB is teaming up with Volvo Cars to jointly explore the development of fossil-free steel for use in the automotive industry.

The collaboration makes Volvo Cars the first carmaker to work with SSAB and its HYBRIT initiative.

Volvo Cars will also be the first automaker to secure SSAB steel made from hydrogen-reduced iron from the HYBRIT pilot plant in Luleå, Sweden.

The steel will be used for testing purposes and may be used in a concept car, says SSAB. 

“As we continuously reduce our total carbon footprint, we know that steel is a major area for further progress,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive at Volvo Cars. “The collaboration with SSAB on fossil-free steel development could give significant emission reductions in our supply chain.”

The HYBRIT initiative was started by SSAB, iron ore producer LKAB and energy firm Vattenfall. The initiative aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. The result is expected to be the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.

“We are building an entirely fossil-free value chain all the way to the end customer,” said Martin Lindqvist, president and CEO at SSAB. “Our breakthrough technology has virtually no carbon footprint and will help strengthen our customer´s competitiveness. Together with Volvo Cars, we aim to develop fossil-free steel products for cars of the future.”

The global steel industry accounts for around 7 percent of global direct carbon emissions because it is currently dominated by an iron ore-based steel making technology, using blast furnaces which depend on coking coal.

For Volvo Cars, the CO2 emissions related to steel and iron production for its cars amount to around 35 percent in a traditionally powered car and 20 percent in a fully electric car of the total CO2 emissions from the material and production of the components going into the car.

SSAB says it aims to reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10 percent and those in Finland by 7 percent, through HYBRIT technology, using hydrogen produced from water and fossil-free electricity instead of coking coal.

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