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HYBRIT JV planning to begin building demo plant for fossil-free steel in 2023

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, the partners in the joint venture HYBRIT (earlier post), are preparing for the construction of a demonstration plant for the production of fossil-free steel on an industrial scale. Consultations have begun for deciding on placement of the plant in Norrbotten, Sweden.

The plan is for construction to start in 2023, with the goal of taking the plant into operation in 2025. The intention is to be able to demonstrate full-scale production with a capacity of just over one million metric tonnes of iron per year, i.e., 20% of LKAB’s total processing capacity at Malmberget and almost half of the production capacity of SSAB’s blast furnace in Luleå. The goal is to be first in the world to produce fossil-free steel as early as 2026.


Parallel consultations on the future plant are being launched at two sites in Sweden: the Vitåfors industrial estate in Gällivare Municipality, where LKAB has mining operations, and the Svartön industrial estate in Luleå, where facilities including SSAB’s steel mill and LKAB’s ore port are located.

The purpose is to consult and to conduct an open dialog about the location and design of the plant ahead of the upcoming selection of the site and permit application. Consultation with government agencies, organizations and the public will begin in June and conclude in September 2020. The choice of location will have a major impact on future competitiveness and climate benefits. Investment decisions will be made once the authorization procedure and other investigations have been completed.

We want to build the plant in Norrbotten. There’s good access to fossil-free electricity and competence here, as well as close collaboration with academia and the community. A demonstration plant for fossil-free iron production would also be positive for growth and jobs in the region, as well as contributing to a major climate benefit.

—Martin Pei, Chief Technical Officer at SSAB and Chairman of HYBRIT

HYBRIT’s pilot phase will run in parallel with the demonstration phase. In Luleå, the pilot plant for fossil-free steel will be fully constructed during the summer, and preparations are also under way to initiate construction of a temporary hydrogen store in order to test the technology for storing hydrogen in caverns.

The objective of the HYBRIT joint venture is to develop the world’s first fossil-free, ore-based steelmaking process. The byproduct of using fossil-free electricity and hydrogen in steelmaking, instead of coke and coal, will be water instead of carbon dioxide. The initiative has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 10%. The HYBRIT initiative has been granted financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency.


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