Sweden is leading the race to decarbonise steel production with the building of a new green steel-making plant.
Steel is one of the world’s dirtiest industries, responsible for more than seven per cent of global CO2 emissions and 25 per cent of Europe’s industrial CO2 emissions.
Decarbonisation of the industry is a must and disruptive technology will be the key enabler. H2 Green Steel’s new plant just outside Boden, 900 km north of Stockholm, is taking on decarbonisation on an industrial scale, working with customers and partners to show that change is possible.
By producing green steel in a fully integrated production process, using end-to-end digitalisation, electricity from fossil-free sources and green hydrogen instead of coal, H2 Green Steel is committed to set state-of-the-art technologies to work and bring emissions down.
H2 Green Steel’s large scale green steel plant in northern Sweden will produce steel with up to 95 per cent lower emissions than traditional steel making.
“We are proud to partner with leading global institutions, investors and industrial companies, leaders in their respective fields and at the forefront of enabling the change required to meet our climate targets,” said Henrik Henriksson, CEO of H2 Green Steel.
“Sustainable green steel production will unlock immense opportunities for people and the planet. And we’re not going to stop innovating, developing, and collaborating to find new and better ways to make steel that is not only kind to people, but also the environment.”
H2 Green Steel has reached several milestones at high speed, including a permissibility permit for its operations in Boden followed by steady progress in the construction of its steel plant. The company has pre-sold about 60 percent of its initial volumes to a range of European customers in a broad range of sectors.
Research and development projects, (such as HYBRIT), technological advances in hydrogen and a more intelligent process-based approach based on AI mean that the conditions are now in place for large-scale production of green and cost-effective steel.
Traditional steel production is based on the supply of coke and coal. In the company’s new process the traditional blast furnace-based technology is replaced by direct reduction reactors. The direct reduction reactors have been up and running for more than 50 years in places where natural gas can be procured cheaply. In a natural gas feed reactor the iron ore reduction takes place with both carbon monoxide to produce sponge iron and carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce sponge iron and water.
H2 Steel will replace the natural gas with green hydrogen to only allow for sponge iron and water to be produced. In addition, the company electrify every process step of the entire production flow. In this way, virtually the only emissions are steam, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90 per cent from the outset, with the aim of reducing emissions to zero.
Before 2030, the company will achieve a production capacity of five million tons of high-quality steel. This will be a significant complement to existing Swedish steel production and will increase Sweden’s net export value by an estimated SEK 30 billion. The climate crisis and more stringent requirements facing industry are rapidly increasing demand, making this investment both necessary and urgent.
Worldwide annual production of steel is currently around 2,000 million tonnes, according to the World Steel Association.