Volvo hopes ‘green steel’ will catch on

The Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology, or Hybrit — developed by steelmaker SSAB, iron ore producer LKAB and energy company Vattenfall — replaces coking coal with hydrogen.

Traditionally, oxygen is extracted from iron ore using coal to derive pure iron, an essential ingredient in making steel. But that high-energy process emits carbon dioxide.

The Hybrit system instead uses electricity generated from renewables to create hydrogen from water via electrolysis. The hydrogen is then used to remove the oxygen from the ore. The byproduct: water, not greenhouse emissions.

Making primary steel typically produces about 1.9 kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilogram of material, said Simon Buckingham, technical expert in metallic materials at Volvo Cars.

“Those C02 emissions would be mostly eliminated using hydrogen,” he said.

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