Five billion euros to produce steel using “green hydrogen” in Sweden
The steel industry is responsible for 5 to 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions and 10 to 15% of total coal demand. Reducing its climate impact is a challenge for engineers because there are no low-cost coal substitutes.
This may change with Hybrit, a Swedish “green steelworks” project set up in Luleå in Northern Sweden: this pilot plant will replace coke and all the fossils fuels required to produce steel with “green hydrogen” from water electrolysis using renewable solar or wind power.
It will produce sponge iron, one of the components of steel. The initial tests, which began this year, are set to last until 2024 to identify the most effective production processes. The first “clean steel” could therefore be put on the market in 2026, with commercial production coming later.
Out of all the attempts to decarbonize steel that are currently underway in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, Hybrit is the most advanced. This progress can be explained by the pressure from Swedish public opinion, which demands that the country meet its commitments to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.
A project funded by Europe and Bill Gates
The Hybrit plant is being implemented by a consortium of Swedish companies, the steel company SSAB, the public power company Vattenfall, and the mining group LKAB.
It will be funded thanks to an investment of some five billion euros, part of which will come from EIT InnoEnergy, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, subsidized by the European Commission to the tune of 80 billion euros in 2020.
EIT InnoEnergy has set up a European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Centre (EGHAC), which aims to develop industrial value chains to produce energy from green hydrogen. The potential turnover of these value chains is estimated at 110 billion euros by 2025.
EGHAC, which is also funded by Breakthrough Energy, the innovation fund set up by Bill Gates, with George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, particularly targets industries with high carbon dioxide emissions: the steel, cement, road traffic, maritime transport, and chemical manufacturing (ammoniac) industries.
« EIT InnoEnergy launched the European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Centre », European Institute of Innovation & Technology, 5 novembre 2020 - eit.europa.eu/news-events/news/eit-innoenergy-launched-european-green-hydrogen-acceleration-centre