Today’s Solutions: January 31, 2023

Two months ago, we shared a story about the world’s first “fossil-free” steel delivery arriving at a Volvo car factory in Sweden, as part of the carmaker’s plans to make its entire business operations (including its supply chain) climate-neutral by 2050.

Now, the car manufacturer has unveiled the first vehicle made from that batch of steel in the form of a lorry that is both a load carrier for mining operations and an embodiment of greener vehicle manufacturing, with production expected to start as early as next year.

Volvo’s new load carrier incorporates fossil-free steel created by Swedish steel manufacturer SSAB, whose production process is significantly more sustainable than conventional methods. SSAB’s approach involves using green hydrogen instead of coal and coke as the reductant while replacing the traditional coal-fired blast furnace with an electric arc furnace powered by renewable energy.

The end result? A metal boasting the same characteristics as conventional steel, but without using fossil fuels in its production. SSAB plans to scale up the production of its fossil-free steel over the next five years — an effort that will hopefully make a dent in the industry’s humongous environmental footprint, currently accounting for about seven to eight percent of global carbon emissions.

Until then, both Volvo and SSAB have shared the early fruits of their collaboration by rolling out the new load carrier, which will be followed by a small-scale series production in 2022, and reach mass production soon after that, according to the carmaker.

“Having the world’s first actual vehicle made using SSAB´’s fossil-free steel is a true milestone. Our collaboration with Volvo Group shows that green transition is possible and brings results,” said Martin Lindqvist, CEO at SSAB.

“Together, we will continue reducing climate impact all the way to the end customer while ensuring that our customers get high-quality steel. We look forward to continuing to work with Volvo Group in research and development to produce more fossil-free steel products,” added Lindgvist.

Image source: Volvo

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