Earlier this year, Volvo pledged to go all-electric by 2030, while making its entire business operations (including its supply chain) climate-neutral by 2050 — all in a bid to do its part in the fight against the climate crisis. To that end, the carmaker has recently made a deal with Swedish steel manufacturer SSAB, which will supply Volvo with the world’s very first “fossil-free” steel to make its electric cars.
As reported by New Atlas, SSAB’s HYBRIT process uses green hydrogen as the reductant, as iron ore and limestone are combined to create steel, replacing the carbon-intensive baked coal (also known as “coke”). What’s more, the traditional coal-fired blast furnace is also replaced with an electric arc furnace.
SSAB also ensures that the hydrogen electrolyzers, as well as its own arc furnaces, are run on renewable energy. Additionally, all of the iron ore used in the process is sourced from “fossil-free” mining operations.
The company uses “fossil-free” rather than “green,” be wary of the fact that there’s no official definition or standards with which to hold anyone accountable. As a result, the steelmaker imposes its own: “Created without using fossil-fuels or fossil raw materials. Fossil-free steel is made without creating CO2 emissions and by using fossil-free energy sources.”
Sweden is expected to lead the way on green steel, with the country soon becoming home to the world’s largest fossil-free steel-making facility. Going green is an essential step for the industry, which accounts for about eight percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, producing more than 1.8 billion tons of steel every year, and releasing two tons of CO2 for every ton of steel.