Every ton of steel produced in 2020 emitted on average 1.9 tons of carbon dioxide, equating to about 8 percent of the planet’s total carbon footprint. This makes it a key target for the world’s decarbonization efforts, and it’s one of the key areas where hydrogen could play a vital role in its shift towards sustainability.
Steel production typically involves blast or electric furnaces that combine iron ore and limestone with coke (coal that’s been baked at high heat to remove impurities). That coke reductant is a major contributor to the construction material’s carbon footprint.
Hydrogen has been identified as a promising alternative to replace coke, as well as offer a more sustainable means of powering the arc furnaces, giving steel production a pipeline that’s entirely zero-emissions. And that’s exactly what has prompted a firm in Sweden to devise plans to develop the world’s first emissions-free steel production facility, using hydrogen to supply manufacturers with environmentally friendly steel.
H2 Green Steel (H2GS) has recently announced its plans to build the world’s first “green steel” production facility in Northern Sweden. By 2024, the plant is expected to start producing clean steel, using hydrogen made with renewable energy.
According to the firm, the facility will be the first large-scale fossil-free steel plant, producing hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanized coils, which it expects to supply to manufacturers in the automotive, transportation, and construction industries, among others.
“We want to accelerate the transformation of the European steel industry,” said Carl-Erik Lagercrantz, Chairman of the H2GS board. “Electrification was the first step in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation industry. The next step is to build vehicles from high-quality fossil-free steel.”