SSAB Claims a Low Carbon Green Steel Smelting Breakthrough

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Gerard Flood – SSAB, a Swedish Steel Foundry, claims they have delivered their first batch of steel produced from iron ore using green hydrogen instead of metallurgic coal to a paying customer.

The world’s first fossil-free steel ready for delivery

AUGUST 18, 2021 15:00 CEST

SSAB has now produced the world’s first fossil-free steel and delivered it to a customer. The trial delivery is an important step on the way to a completely fossil-free value chain for iron- and steelmaking and a milestone in the HYBRIT partnership between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall.

In July, SSAB Oxelösund rolled the first steel produced using HYBRIT technology, i.e., reduced by 100% fossil-free hydrogen instead of coal and coke, with good results. The steel is now being delivered to the first customer, the Volvo Group.

“The first fossil-free steel in the world is not only a breakthrough for SSAB, it represents proof that it’s possible to make the transition and significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of the steel industry. We hope that this will inspire others to also want to speed up the green transition,” says Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB.

“Industry and especially the steel industry create large emissions but are also an important part of the solution. To drive the transition and become the world’s first fossil-free welfare state, collaboration between business, universities and the public sector is crucial. The work done by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall within the framework of HYBRIT drives the development of the entire industry and is an international model”, says Minister of Trade and Industry of Sweden Ibrahim Baylan.

“It’s a crucial milestone and an important step towards creating a completely fossil-free value chain from mine to finished steel. We’ve now shown together that it’s possible, and the journey continues. By industrializing this technology in the future and making the transition to the production of sponge iron on an industrial scale, we will enable the steel industry to make the transition. This is the greatest thing we can do together for the climate,” says Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB.“It’s very pleasing that the HYBRIT partnership is once more taking an important step forward and that SSAB can now produce the first fossil-free steel and deliver to the customer. This shows how partnerships and collaboration can contribute to reducing emissions and building competitiveness for industries. Electrification is contributing to making fossil-free living possible within one generation,” says Anna Borg, President and CEO of Vattenfall.

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall created HYBRIT, Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology, in 2016, with the aim of developing a technology for fossil-free iron- and steelmaking. In June 2021, the three companies were able to showcase the world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron produced at HYBRIT’s pilot plant in Luleå. This first sponge iron has since been used to produce the first steel made with this breakthrough technology.

The goal is to deliver fossil-free steel to the market and demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026. Using HYBRIT technology, SSAB has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by approximately ten per cent and Finland’s by approximately seven per cent.

“We’ll be converting to electric arc furnace in Oxelösund as early as 2025. This is the first production site within SSAB to make the transition, and it means that we’ll already be cutting large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions then. This is a major responsibility, one that we’re proud to shoulder, and it brings great opportunities to the region,” says Johnny Sjöström, Head of SSAB Special Steels Division.

Press Contacts:

Mia Widell, Public Relations Officer, SSAB, +46 76-527 25 01
Anders Lindberg, Group Media Relations Manager, LKAB, +46 (0)72-717 83 55
Magnus Kryssare, Press Officer, Vattenfall, +46 76 769 56 07
 

A piece of the future  – The first object from a piece of the world’s first fossil-free steel.

“The candle holder, with its softly pleated rays beaming out from the candle, symbolizes the light at the end of the tunnel. It is a symbol of hope. It truly is… a piece of the future.”

Lena Bergström, Designer

Source: https://www.ssab.com/News/2021/08/The-worlds-first-fossilfree-steel-ready-for-delivery

As a proof of concept SSAB’s claim appears to be a significant advance, though notably absent from the press release is any discussion of the cost of using their HYBRIT green hydrogen reduction process, vs regular smelting with metallurgical coal. Of course higher cost might not be an impediment for some end users. For example, manufacturers of luxury automobiles might be willing to absorb the higher cost, so they can claim their product is more green.

I would love to know how SSAB’s HYBRIT process deals with hydrogen embrittlement. While hydrogen can be used in place of metallurgical coal carbon to chemically strip the oxygen from iron ore (iron oxide), steel which contains even traces of hydrogen tends to have very poor metallurgical properties. Note I am not suggesting SSAB’s green steel is metallurgically inferior – if their green steel is production ready, they are implicitly claiming they have found a solution to the hydrogen contamination problem.

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PCman999
August 21, 2021 10:09 pm

I doubt that they made real fossil fuel-free steel – where did the energy to melt the ore and process the steel come from?

I wish them luck, lots of luck, that the wind never stops blowing and the skys never cloud over.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  PCman999
August 21, 2021 11:17 pm

You can use induction furnaces. I’m referring to the process behind it, from a technical perspective.

Vuk
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
August 22, 2021 1:24 am

May be powered by Elon Musk’s Giga-batteries, which neatly links to the next question:
Which country has the potential to become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” ?
According to a Pentagon memo the US military officials and geologists revealed that Afghanistan was sitting on vast resources of coveted supplies of lithium – a vital component of electric vehicle battery production. In addition the area is abundant in copper, gold, and other rare earths.
It looks that Biden has unwittingly let Chinese to an easy access to this economically strategically important resource since China is the world’s largest lithium consumer – accounting for about 40% of the global consumption.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/08/21/afghanistans-fall-leaves-taliban-sitting-1-trillion-valuable/



Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
August 22, 2021 2:59 am

The world’s top lithium producers of total 85,000 tones global production

  1. Australia – 52.9%
  2. Chile – 21.5%
  3. China – 9.7%
  4. Argentina – 8.3%
  5. Zimbabwe – 2.1%
  6. USA 1.2%

Top lithium reserves of the world’s total

  1. Chile – 55.5%
  2. Australia – 18.1%
  3. Argentina – 11.0%
  4. China – 6.5%
  5. USA – 4.1%

Distribution of lithium consumption worldwide

  1. China – 39%
  2. South Korea – 20%
  3. Japan – 18%
  4. Europe -10%
  5. USA+Canada – 6%
  6. Rest 7%

All above data are finalised for 2019, there is degree of uncertainty in 2020 data.

Reply to  Vuk
August 22, 2021 8:41 am

“Top known Lithium reserves of the world’s total.”
Precision is important.

Vuk
Reply to  Petercat
August 22, 2021 9:17 am

I would think they are just rough estimates rather than known quantities.
If you do know (which I don’t) how many estimates are done for each of the countries you are welcome to calculate the estimated standard uncertainty
u= s / n^0.5
where s is standard deviation and n number of actual estimates.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Vuk
August 22, 2021 1:23 pm

Vuk, ‘reserves’ has a specific meaning in the mining industry, being measured resources that can be mined at today’s prices. Moreover, it costs a lot of money to measure reserves ~$300 a metre to core drill, geologically log, assay, preliminary met testing, deposit modelling…so a company commonly only defines ~20yrs production for project planning purposes (20-25k metres of drilling).

However, the drill penetrates much ore grade that cannot be defined as reserves because holes penetrating a ‘block’ are spaced too far apart to meet statistical requirements (usually at depth). A geologist experienced with this type of deposit will, classify these tonnages as probable resourses and inferred resources. If the deposit is essentially tabular in geometry and reasonably uniform in grade, he can include ‘probable’ in reserves.

To upgrade ‘inferred’ requires drilling additional strategically placed holes. If you tripled measured reserves figures, you wouldnt go far wrong for speculating about adequacy.

Also, your list doesnt include some biggies. The worlds largest known deposits are in the SE DRCongo. Manono and Kitolo are two giant lithium pegmatite deposits that align with each other in the NE/SW direction. Mineralized rock is up to 500m across in the two, and each is ~5km long. Limited drilling suggests over a billion tonnes of ore grading ~2% Li2O (~10,000,000 MT of Li). Moreover since elephants are found in elephant country, chances of finding others is reasonably possible.

I can assure readers there are adequate resources of lithium (and virtually everything else for you Malthusian readers out there) to exploit for wise use or foolish. I even left out substantial resources (even measured ones) in Canada, Europe Brazil and many other countries.

Dean
Reply to  Petercat
August 22, 2021 5:36 pm

Precision indeed.

it is impossible to have unknown reserves. Reserves are what has been explored and proven to be currently economic.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Vuk
August 22, 2021 3:48 am

Of course everything that happens around Resident Biden happens unwittingly from his perspective. Whether it’s a happy coincidence for the CCP or the successful outcome of the plans of Dementia Zhou’s puppetmasters is an open question.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Rich Davis
August 22, 2021 8:15 am

seems after recent polling that most of us wish he was resident of Golden Acres or Green Meadows rather than The White House. With each iteration of establishment poli-puppet it becomes more of a Swamp Shite House.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Bill Powers
August 22, 2021 2:58 pm

Yes, but I hope we prop him up like in Weekend at Bernie’s rather than replace him with the Kackling Kommie Kamala.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Vuk
August 22, 2021 5:55 am

Unwittingly?

Vuk
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
August 22, 2021 7:34 am

google: UNWITTINGLY | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionaryhttps://dictionary.cambridge.org — Meaning of unwittingly in English … in a way that is done without knowing or planning:

bill Johnston
Reply to  Vuk
August 22, 2021 9:08 am

“unwittingly”?????? We shall see.

Vuk
Reply to  bill Johnston
August 22, 2021 10:17 am

The junior might be glad for agriculture there to prosper without interference from authorities and supply the world with its premium produce/ sc

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
August 22, 2021 7:43 am

nice non answer … where does the electrcity come from for the induction furnace ?

LdB
Reply to  PCman999
August 22, 2021 12:09 am

I detailed it below and that is the kicker.

Rusty
Reply to  PCman999
August 22, 2021 2:16 am

Sweden energy sources:

Electricity_production_in_Sweden.svg.png
Scissor
Reply to  PCman999
August 22, 2021 5:36 am

Candle holders will never be the same.

griff
Reply to  PCman999
August 22, 2021 6:35 am

The use of hydrogen produced by water electrolysis using fossil-free electricity to reduce iron ore pellets in a shaft furnace was the main alternative chosen for the HYBRIT initiative.

Metals | Free Full-Text | Toward a Fossil Free Future with HYBRIT: Development of Iron and Steelmaking Technology in Sweden and Finland | HTML (mdpi.com)

MarkW
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 7:16 am

In other words it is totally uneconomic, but that doesn’t matter to people who unlimited supplies of other people’s money.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 1:07 pm

If it was hydro or nuclear generated electric, don’t tell your fellow green zealots: they hate hydro and nuclear (probably because they work). Your band of zealots only want leccie produced from unicorn farts and rainbows.

Pariah Dog
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 1:38 pm

Wonderful. According to that link, the hydrogen will be generated and stored separately. And storing a colourless flammable gas near a smelter couldn’t possibly have any disastrous consequences…

Sheesh, if generating the hydrogen was “in-process” I could say its a novel idea, but this is just asking for trouble.

John in Oz
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 9:37 pm

Please explain, in detail, how the fossil free electricity infrastructure was built, including how they produced cement, steel, carbon fibre, etc.

Was the construction equipment electrically-powered?

Very loose use of the term ‘fossil free’, I suspect.

H B
August 21, 2021 10:11 pm

This rubbish is rearing its head again

Scissor
Reply to  H B
August 22, 2021 5:36 am

Delivered by magic carpet.

gbaikie
August 21, 2021 10:18 pm

Not many countries make as little steel as Sweden

Rusty
Reply to  gbaikie
August 22, 2021 2:17 am

Traditionally they’ve always been a high quality and specialist steel producer.

Greg
Reply to  Rusty
August 22, 2021 3:19 am

The small volume means that however they make it is INSIGNIFICANT .
They are about to drop “high quality”.
Get woke , go broke.

Last edited 2 months ago by Greg
Ron Long
Reply to  Greg
August 22, 2021 3:25 am

Or, as ex-President trump said at a rally yesterday in Alabama “everything woke turns to schist” (paraphrasing a little bit).

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  gbaikie
August 22, 2021 9:11 pm

They needed high quality steel to make ball bearings to sell to Hitler.

Geoffrey Williams
August 21, 2021 10:21 pm

Is hydrogen just bottled out of the atmosphere ?

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
August 21, 2021 11:18 pm

No. We ship it in from Jupiter.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
August 22, 2021 9:12 pm

And it comes out of Uranus.

griff
Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
August 22, 2021 6:37 am

The use of hydrogen produced by water electrolysis using fossil-free electricity to reduce iron ore pellets in a shaft furnace was the main alternative chosen for the HYBRIT initiative.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 7:45 am

not fossil free electricity … no such thing … CO2 was produced to make the solar panels or windmills …

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  The Dark Lord
August 22, 2021 8:02 am

And, the dams supplying hydroelectric power were made with concrete that almost certainly was made with fossil fuels. The limestone used to make cement releases CO2, and the aggregate added to make concrete was probably mined and transported using fossil fuels.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 22, 2021 1:09 pm

Shhhh!!! Stop bamboozling Griff with reality!

Rory Forbes
August 21, 2021 10:25 pm

My only question is WHY? Why would they go to all that trouble? I wouldn’t trust the product of any corporation that spends money on nonsense. Is it just virtue signalling?

LdB
Reply to  Rory Forbes
August 22, 2021 12:12 am

They got a 2M Euro grant to do it and seeking about another Billion or so from green investors to make a small plant.

Last edited 2 months ago by LdB
Greg
Reply to  LdB
August 22, 2021 3:22 am

Carbon credits make this kind of stupidity economically viable.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Greg
August 22, 2021 8:46 am

The same way that parasitism is metabolically viable.

Last edited 2 months ago by Pat Frank
Rory Forbes
Reply to  LdB
August 22, 2021 9:58 am

Aha … well that makes sense. They’re subsidy mining. I’m guessing that “green investors” have also found a way to cash in on the lucrative subsidy mining boom.

Scissor
Reply to  Rory Forbes
August 22, 2021 5:39 am

Perhaps they see great demand ahead for candle holders.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Scissor
August 22, 2021 10:01 am

🙂 … that would explain it.

griff
Reply to  Rory Forbes
August 22, 2021 6:38 am

Because there’s a climate crisis and all countries need to reduce CO2 output.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 7:17 am

You keep making this claim, yet can provide no information to back it up.

Abolition Man
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 7:46 am

Hey, griffter,
Where is this climate crisis you continue to babble on about!? The world is greening, crop yields and reforestation are up, while deaths from weather are down! What is this crisis you speak of?
The most likely scenario for a climate crisis is that, as we come out of the Modern Climate Optimum, the planet starts to slide back into a period of glaciation, which is it’s normal state! All of your schemes for dealing with the Dreaded Pirate CO2 will come to naught, and increased CO2 production will be necessary to prevent the sequestration of it in the oceans from bringing atmospheric levels down low enough to kill most plants! What are all the climate alarmist morons going to live on then?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 10:03 am

Please be specific. Which climate is in crisis and while you’re thinking about that, what do you mean by ‘crisis’? You make no sense. Haven’t you heard that CO2 is proving to be a real benefit in an erstwhile carbon dioxide starved world? Mother Earth has seen fit to help all life on this planet.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rory Forbes
Editor
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 11:07 am

YAWNNNNN……, ZZzzzzzzz.

You never took up the opportunity to make a case for Climate Emergency in this post by Willis Eschenbauch who asked a question that has since exposed how shallow warmist/alarmists really are in their support of the climate delusion.

Where is the “Climate Emergency?”

YOU avoided that thread completely because you couldn’t produce an answer to it, so you in effect by omission ignored it.

I have posted this in several other places to see how feeble the warmist/alarmists replies really are, they mostly just dodge it completely saying it is from a “denier” blog and other stupid evasive statements while complexly ignoring the CONTENT of the article that utterly destroys the global warming is unprecedented narrative and using the official data sets such as NOAA, Satellite data, UAH and many more….

You are a typical drive by poster and nothing more and a really bad one too, is it too much english rainfall getting to you?

Last edited 2 months ago by Sunsettommy
Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 1:10 pm

No there isn’t, and no they don’t.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  griff
August 23, 2021 6:08 pm

And Biden fleeing from Kabul has not produced a massive lawless zone that will potentially directly lead the deaths of hundreds of thousands?

Good to see you got your moral compass fixed.

roaddog
August 21, 2021 10:29 pm

When chemistry is evil … all common sense has left the building.

Scissor
Reply to  roaddog
August 22, 2021 5:44 am

Yes. Better Living doesn’t seem to be part of the plan.

MarkW
Reply to  Scissor
August 22, 2021 7:18 am

Not for the peons at least.

Fred
August 21, 2021 11:49 pm

The “small” hurdle is that the electrical consumption to produce all hydrogen. It will take 1/3 of the current produced electricity in Sweden. At the same time the goverment deliberately stalls decitions of nuclear waste starage that might rendering a total closure of nuclear power.

lee
August 21, 2021 11:51 pm

I see that they are using lkab iron pellets formed by using bio-oil according to lkab website. I assume bio-oil is a complex carbon compound.

Scissor
Reply to  lee
August 22, 2021 5:51 am

You are probably right. They’re likely talking about pyrolysis oil from wood liquefaction. It’s a complex mixture. It contains mostly carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257548357_Bio-oil_production_and_upgrading_research_A_review

Editor
August 22, 2021 12:04 am

They say:

We’ll be converting to electric arc furnace in Oxelösund as early as 2025.

For “fossil-free steel”, I suppose those electric arc furnaces will have to be solar powered …

w.

LdB
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 22, 2021 12:12 am

Electricity and Bio Fuel 🙂

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 22, 2021 12:42 am

Short time working in winter then. Shortest day in Stockholm is just over 5 hours, of which about half would produce usable power. Take into account only about 45% of any daylight is sunshine not much solar in the 3 winter months

Leo Smith
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 22, 2021 12:57 am

No, Sweden has nuclear and hydro electric power.

tty
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 1:43 am

Unfortunately the Greens are hell-bent on closing down nuclear power which will mean a severe energy crisis, even without green steel. Swedish politics makes american politics look extremely rational and honest.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 7:42 am

Neither of which are truly environmentally “green and friendly” when one examines the large picture.

Rusty
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 22, 2021 2:18 am

Sweden’s top 2 energy sources are hydro and nuclear. See chart I posted above.

MarkW
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 22, 2021 7:19 am

Solar powered arc furnaces are going to create quite a mess if a cloud happens to cover your panels when you are in the middle of melting a new batch.

roaddog
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 22, 2021 7:21 am

Unicorn fart burners.

c1ue
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
August 22, 2021 8:23 am

Some countries do have significant “green” electricity from hydropower. The problem is that most new industries using this isn’t “green” because this usage subtracts from the “green” electricity that is exported. Sweden is a great example: they have exported their hydropower electricity surplus for years to the EU.

LdB
August 22, 2021 12:06 am

The problem not mentioned in the announcement is for a tonne of steel
HYBRIT requires 3488kWh of electricity, 560kWh of bio fuel and 42kWh of coal
Conventional requires 235kWh of electricity, 81kWh of oil and 5150kWh of coal

So you save on coal being burnt but at 15 times increase in electricy and 7 times increase in oil/fuel. So now all you need to do is work out a way to produce those in the increased quantities before it all flies large scale … personally I think the pigs will first 🙂

Last edited 2 months ago by LdB
Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  LdB
August 22, 2021 12:40 am

So….

NOT fossil-free as claimed, hmm? I couldn’t work out how you can actually make steel without coal, tbh. Isn’t steel an alloy of iron and carbon?

Leo Smith
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
August 22, 2021 12:53 am

Not sure if its an alloy, but for sure steel has carbon in it.
Otherwise it’s just soft iron.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 1:36 am

Not sure if its an alloy, but for sure steel has carbon in it.

It is an alloy, yes. You don’t make alloys only with other metals, although that is the most common method.

Last edited 2 months ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Chris Thompson
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
August 22, 2021 3:36 am

I’ve been trying for a long time to understand what exactly steel is. At school we learnt it was an alloy of iron and carbon, but then isn’t cast iron a similar alloy but with more carbon? What makes steel different?

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 6:24 am

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, but not much carbon – usually between 0.1 and 0.5 wt% carbon. There are several other elements added for various reasons: chromium, nickel, vanadium, molybdenum, manganese, niobium (columbium), etc. Iron ore needs to be reduced to iron, then it can be made into steel. The cheapest way is to burn coke from coal in an oxygen-poor atmosphere to make carbon monoxide. The CO reacts with the iron oxide to produce CO2 and iron. This is the basic smelting process. Any more active element could also be used in a redox reaction. In thermite, iron oxide is reacted with aluminum to produce elemental iron and aluminum oxide. Lithium would work just as easily. None of these reactions are as cost-effective as the one everyone uses (duh!). Hydrogen can be used to reduce the ore, but it costs more because you have to put energy into something to make hydrogen, whereas the energy is already in the coal.

The resulting pig iron from the smelter has to be further refined to make steel.. It has too much carbon in it. There are several modern methods of removing the excess carbon and other impurities. The Bessemer process was the first commercially viable method and a huge step forward in making good steel for a competitive price.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
August 22, 2021 4:05 am

You beat me to that question.
Maybe they will make zinc-free brass or tin-free bronze next.

The depths of stupidity in the “carbon-free welfare state” are unplumbable.

Leo Smith
Reply to  LdB
August 22, 2021 1:06 am

Well energy is easy enough, Nuclear power will do that and Sweden already has a fair amount. As well as hydroelectricity.

As to where the carbon needed chemically will come from…well it could be as simple as wood. Which is something Scandinavia has a fair amount of.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no ideological problem with using fossil fuels, but they are getting scarcer and more expensive outside of the USA and Australia.

There is a need, irrespective of faux climate change, to explore options based on nuclear power. Renewable energy is of course an utter waste of time and money.

Obviously these options are uneconomic compared with coal, at this point in time. But that may not always be the case.

tty
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 1:46 am

Unfortunately Sweden is already short of electrical power since several nuclear plants have been closed down for political reasons. Hydropower alone doesn’t suffice.

Leo Smith
Reply to  tty
August 22, 2021 6:22 am

Sure, but in the end Sweden has no other alternative to nuclear. Nor do almost all other nations, ergo it will happen.
Researching technology that doesn’t need to use fossil fuel is not a bad thing in itself: Expecting it all to happen with windmills and pixie dust or worse, legislating it, is the problem

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 3:13 am

In addition to tty’s reply, the situation is getting worse in Sweden, when soon there has to be a political decision made about the nuclear “waste” that are piling up at the [few] remaining power plants. If the pseudo green delaying tactics are working, the power plants will be forced to a fast shut down. (With gen.4/thorium tech, that wouldn’t be an issue …) The consequences are easy to predict, but that’s what the pseudo greens want …

Of the twelve reactors build, only six are still in operation. (Test facilities R1-R4 not included. R1 is located below KTH, The Royal Institute of Technology in central Stockholm)

Leo Smith
Reply to  SasjaL
August 22, 2021 6:25 am

Europe cannot survive without either fossil fuel or nuclear, no matter what the Greens say or do.

In the end, Europeans will realize that. They have been befiuddled with the faux goal of ‘renewables’, but the gilding is wearing off

Abolition Man
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 7:58 am

Leo,
I like your optimism, but you have to realize that generations of children now have been fed the Big Green Lies! Never underestimate the ability of low information, small minded climate morons to deny reality and avoid sensible solutions!
Ansel Adams called for nuclear power decades ago, yet he was roundly ignored by his fellow environmentalists; most of whom seem perfectly willing to destroy economic freedom and prosperity due to the wild fantasies of climate panic modelers! The cult is strong in these ignorati!

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 8:48 am

You can use trees for all the carbon you need for steel making anymore than you can use trees to replace all the coal for power generation.

Hydrogen steel is only being done on a trial project because taxpayers are footing the bill.

All this really means is steel making moves to the 3rd world and EU importers pretend they are carbon neutral with bogus carbon credits.

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 10:06 am

Crude oil and natural gas trade on the open market. Other than transportation costs, everyone buying the same grade of crude oil pays about the same amount. There is a consistent price offset of about $2 USD per barrel between Brent and WTI (the two big benchmark prices). All price differences at the pump are caused by the differing levels of taxation. Coal production is similar but there are larger price differences because the market is less global.

Vincent Causey
August 22, 2021 12:10 am

Well, I’m no expert on steel manufacture, so I’ve no idea what this all entails. I always assumed you need heat for smelting at some stage. Lots of heat.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Vincent Causey
August 22, 2021 12:42 am

As I understand it, you need heat, but you also need coal, for the carbon. One of the reasons some Aussie coal is so valuable is that it’s one of the purest about.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
August 22, 2021 12:55 am

Carbon is used both as a reducing agent, to strip out oxygen from the iron oxide iron ores, and also as a part of the process of turning iron into steel.

Perfectly possible to use e.g. nuclear produced hydrogen to do the reduction, but you for sure need carbon to turn iron into steel.

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 22, 2021 1:06 am

Well that’s OK then, the carbon that goes into the steel, does not end up in the atmosphere as CO2.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Hans Erren
August 22, 2021 1:40 am

Yeahbut, it’s not ‘fossil-free’ as claimed.

tty
Reply to  Hans Erren
August 22, 2021 1:47 am

Just you try to mix 1500 C iron and coal without some of it turning into CO2

Reply to  tty
August 22, 2021 1:51 am

CCS, if you really want no CO2 in the atmosphere, probably cheaper than the hydrogen route.

Leo Smith
Reply to  tty
August 22, 2021 6:29 am

Actually you can do it in an oxygen free enviroment..normally pig iron is OVER loaded with carbon and blast furnaces blow air through it to pull the carbon out.

If hydrogen is used to smelt it its likely it will be full of hydrogen instead, and still need a blast furnace to get that out!

Rusty
Reply to  Hans Erren
August 22, 2021 2:32 am

Most steel are hypoeutectic and therefore contain less than 0.8% carbon. Most CO2 emitted goes up the chimney from the EAF use of CO to produce more efficient slag.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Hans Erren
August 22, 2021 4:13 am

If you use coal (or coke) to reduce iron oxide to metallic iron, of course the carbon is oxidized to CO2. Only the excess carbon goes into the alloy.

Brian J. BAKER
Reply to  Hans Erren
August 22, 2021 6:25 am

The way a BOS plant works is that you have a much larger amount of carbon in the iron and reduce it using oxygen to get the correct per cent of carbon in the steel.

Rusty
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
August 22, 2021 2:29 am

The electric arc furnace (converting iron to steel) can use a number of sources of carbon such as coal, petrol, coke, natural gas etc. Don’t forget the graphite electrodes get consumed so that’s another source.

Other sources such as pig iron and scrap provide carbon. Biomass can be used e.g. charcoal.

Carbon isn’t just used for alloying in an EAF it produces CO bubbles which ‘froth the slag’ and therefore makes the slag more efficient in reducing impurities.

fretslider
August 22, 2021 12:54 am

Could this steel be as cheap as EVs are to cars?

If the price were competitive they would have shouted that out loud

Last edited 2 months ago by fretslider
Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  fretslider
August 22, 2021 1:40 am

No. Way, way more expensive, instead of just painfully more expensive.

Last edited 2 months ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Leo Smith
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
August 22, 2021 6:30 am

LOL. very true!

tty
Reply to  fretslider
August 22, 2021 1:50 am

Could this steel be as cheap as EVs are to cars?”

Just about. That is why EU is so hot on “Climate tariffs”.

Rusty
Reply to  fretslider
August 22, 2021 2:33 am

All studies have shown the cost to be at least 30% more expensive than conventional methods.

LdB
Reply to  Rusty
August 22, 2021 5:39 am

And the bio fuel needed has a sting in the tail.

tty
August 22, 2021 1:34 am

It should be noted that natural gas was used to heat the hydrogen to proper temperature for reaction, though this is probably not mentioned in the english-language press release, You have to read the fine print in the swedish version.

So, no, not fossil-free.

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 22, 2021 1:38 am

The production of Hydrogen from Methane results in exactly the same quantity of CO2 produded as burning the Methane directly. And the Bessemer process removes Carbon contamination from the iron by burning it off in Oxygen which results in, you guessed it, CO2.

The only way this process can be ‘green’ is when the hydrogen is produced by electrolysis using exclusively ‘green’ electricity. The word ‘electrolysis’ is conspicuously missing from the blurb, which, given its importance, suggests it is studiously avoided. My money is on that Hydrogen coming from Methane.

Nick Graves
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 22, 2021 1:59 am

Thank you, Ed – that was my first suspicion!

François Riverin
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 22, 2021 6:09 am

What about water vapor produced par using hydrogen do reduce iron ore? Is’nt water vapor mutch more powerfull ghg than co2 ?

Right-Handed Shark
August 22, 2021 1:49 am

The production of steel is only part of the story, the raw steel ingots have to be re-heated in a furnace before undergoing a hot rolling process. I’m pretty sure those furnaces are gas fired.

IainC
August 22, 2021 2:08 am

I sure do appreciate the irony (sorry) that the first product off the assembly line is a candle holder, implied usage of which emits gusts of carbon dioxide (and carbon) and for which purpose, fortuitously, the quality of the steel is irrelevant. Let me know when a high tension girder is coming.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  IainC
August 22, 2021 6:06 am

I can’t believe this steel will be of much use in most applications on the Volvo Group’s trucks and construction equipment. Although there must be some steel parts which are more decorative than structural.

Dave Fair
Reply to  IainC
August 22, 2021 11:05 am

But the candle holder will be of vast use when the unreliables grid fails.

Rusty
August 22, 2021 2:15 am

Now find out exactly how much iron they actually produced using the hydrogen reduction method. Hint: it’s not very much. From a quick look at SSAB info they are a special high strength steel producer who produced 13,000 tonnes in 2019. The blast furnace (BF) they closed at the site is 0.5 tonnes so their production is tiny.

I wonder what the cost was too. The steels SSAB produce are high quality and thus expensive, so the raw steel costs are much less as an overall percentage of final cost.

EAF consume huge amounts of electricity. Their bumf indicates they think this will come from wind and solar, but it’s actually hydro and nuclear which are the top two energy sources in Sweden.

This technology is not going to replace the BF/BOF or DRI methods such as Midrex any time soon. The cost is still a minimum 30% greater and it’s not going to be able to scale to the same size as those two methods.

Looks like it could be fine for small, specialist steel producers, but it’s only going to be doable in countries with lots of hydro and nuclear.

Rusty
August 22, 2021 2:41 am

More info:

Although this is a momentous occasion, it is also important to not lose track of the details. According to HYBRIT’s own estimates, its approach will decrease steel production’s carbon emissions from 1.6 Tons of CO2 to 25Kg of CO2, for every ton of steel produced. However, the decrease in CO2 emissions will require increased electricity consumption. Indeed, HYBRIT’s steel production is estimated to consume 3,488kWh, over ten times the 235KWh consumption of the traditional approach.

Vattenfall reports that the majority of electricity consumed by HYBRIT comes from wind power. According to official estimates, Sweden’s wind power production totalled 27.6 TWh in 2020. That means that HYBRIT alone would consume over 12% of the existing wind power produced in Sweden. Even if the capacity exists, the added burden created by the new steel-making process cannot avoid straining the grid. As McKinsey noted in a 2020 report on decarbonisation of the steel industry shifting to electric arc furnace (EAF)-based steel production “requires the future supply of renewable electricity to be commercially available.”

This issue is not the only potential hurdle to the adoption of fossil fuel-free steel. By its own admission, HYBRIT recognises that its steel will cost 20%-30% more than the going market rate.

https://nordsip.com/2021/08/20/how-sustainable-is-fossil-free-steel/

———
SSAB are looking to produce 1 million tonnes per year at their demonstration plant. But even producing this tiny amount (worldwide steel production was 1.87 billion tonnes in 2019) via the hydrogen EAF route is going to cause Sweden problems because they don’t have enough electricity capacity to do it.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rusty
August 22, 2021 4:23 am

What about the problems from embrittled steel? But who needs quality when you can have green piety?

Rusty
Reply to  Rich Davis
August 22, 2021 6:11 am

There aren’t embrittlement problems because the H2 is removed most likely via vacuum degassing/remelting.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rusty
August 22, 2021 3:01 pm

Maybe, maybe not?

Anyway remelting and vacuum degassing, all using windmills, solar panels, and unicorn farts?

roaddog
Reply to  Rusty
August 22, 2021 7:31 am

Another un startling example of the inherent inefficiency of everything “green.” Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for civilization.

very old white guy
August 22, 2021 3:05 am

Low carbon free green steel smelting, get your head around that one. I’m with PCman999 on this one.

Sara
August 22, 2021 4:41 am

Question is: does hydrogen make the steel stronger? Or is it more brittle?
Will it rust LESS, or MORE?
And what’s the end-line cost compared to standard steel production?

James Donald Bailey
August 22, 2021 4:58 am

There are established technologies for removing hydrogen in the steel making process. I have not found mention of such in this or similar processes. So I can’t confirm if it is necessary. Keeping hydrogen out afterwards is always a problem, especially with ships and cannon.

This is not the first ever use of hydrogen in the direct reduction of iron (DRI) from iron oxide. Syngas, a mixture of CO and H2, both obtained from natural gas, is commonly used in DRI.

https://www.alcimed.com/en/alcim-articles/hydrogen-for-steel-production-myth-or-reality/

fretslider
August 22, 2021 5:13 am

It seems the customer was Volvo

DHR
August 22, 2021 5:27 am

Where does the carbon come from?

dk_
August 22, 2021 5:46 am

“know how SSAB’s HYBRIT process deals with hydrogen embrittlement.

A piece I read (and can no longer find to link, sorry) indicated that SSAB may use carbon from lime (calcium carbonate) to make the steel. It must still emit CO2 and CO, but they can have some claim to making it fossil-fuel free (although rather obviously not fossil free).

They also claimed to be using hydroben for the electrical fuel source, but didn’t specify (in what I’d read) that they’d used only electrolyzed hydrogen. Fossil-free hydrogen might still be steam-reduced from a lot of different materials, eg food processing waste, but still emit large amounts of carbon compounds.

I wondered also if they’d developed a carbon free electrode, since the carbon rods used in the regular steel industry are derived from coal.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  dk_
August 22, 2021 8:20 am

To be strictly “fossil-free” they would have to use non-fossiliferous limestone.

dk_
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 22, 2021 5:41 pm

Clyde,
Exactly! Since it is all B.S. anyway, and at least ten times the cost, they may as well claim fossil-free then. The same people would believe them!

They never claimed carbon-emission-free, or net-zero. Perhaps those B.S. terms are wearing thin?

Brian J. BAKER
August 22, 2021 6:14 am

Sweden seems to be going to hell in a hand cart. Sweden uses 134 Trillion MWh, of which 26 TrWhs come from Nuclear and they are trying to close this down. According to Vattenfall switching to Hydrogen, smelt requires 55 TrWhs and that is on another programme backed by the Swedish government. So Sweden is going to have to find another 64% of capacity in 8 years. And we still don’t find how much Volvo is paying for this and since Stainless Steel is a lot more expensive than Standard Steel whether there is an unsubsidised product at the end of the line.

griff
August 22, 2021 6:33 am

They aren’t ‘claiming’ anything: it is a solid fact they have done it.

BobM
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 6:45 am

Everyone, please do not respond to the troll.

Rusty
Reply to  griff
August 22, 2021 8:28 am

How much steel did they produce?

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Rusty
August 23, 2021 6:12 pm

What sort of steel did they produce?

Steel is a big place. You make different steel for different end functions. You can’t just say ‘Steel’ if you are making a professional claim, you need to clarify what types of steel to be useful to industry.

Bruce Cobb
August 22, 2021 7:27 am

A little-known fact is that “sponge iron” was first produced by SpongeBob, of kid tv fame. Note that sponge iron wasn’t given a nickname like “hardpants”, as that would be silly. It has many uses, primarily in kitchens, and is incredibly hard-wearing except that you do need to give it a bit of treatment with WD-40 or a drop of machine oil, to keep it from rusting.

August 22, 2021 7:40 am

China produces more steel than the rest of the world combined. More than ten times what the US produces. We have to buy steel from China to make our cars, build our bridges and buildings, and ships. Cities like Pittsburg, Birmingham, and Allentown are no longer big producers. Sweden will never be able to make a dent in the carbon steel market.

Olen
August 22, 2021 7:41 am

How do they know there is a need to cut CO2. Is good weather a clue? Or has the welfare state demanded it no matter what.

Rick C
August 22, 2021 8:02 am

What an important breakthrough! I propose that regulations be immediately put in place to require all new wind turbine towers, re-bar and generator parts be made from this fossil free steel. It’s the environmentally responsible thing to do.

Captain Climate
August 22, 2021 8:22 am

The attack on steel is just a proxy attack on human beings, the real target. None of this has anything to do with CO2. They just hate human beings.

Pat Frank
August 22, 2021 8:43 am

100% fossil-free hydrogen instead of coal and coke,

One can only laugh at the stupidity of that statement.

Unless they used nuclear power to generate that hydrogen, the hydrogen process must, must, have produced more CO2 than a direct use of coal or coke would have done.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Pat Frank
August 22, 2021 6:41 pm

Coke is also used to remove oxygen from SiO2, the first step in making electronic grade wafer silicon needed for PV.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
August 22, 2021 7:42 pm

I didn’t know that, thanks Monte. It’s a good method, because the reaction product, CO2 leaves as a gas, which drives the reduction to completion.

August 22, 2021 8:56 am

We’ll be converting to electric arc furnace in Oxelösund as early as 2025
=======
Care to guess what the electrodes in arc furnaces are made of!?

Evil carbon. Thus the name change from carbon arc to electric arc.

Gary Pearse
August 22, 2021 11:56 am

But can you make carbon steels, the workhorse product for this commodity? I dont think so with hydrogen. Surely we aren’t converting all to stainless (even stainless is a carbon steel with chromium and other alloy ingredients).

Rudi
August 23, 2021 1:35 am

At this moment Sweden has a mix of 64.5% Hydro, 22.8% Nuclear, some wind and some biofuels.

Hydrogen embrittlement is not changing from the current situation where for some steel grades heat treatment is used to let the hydrogen diffuse out of the solid steel down to required levels for that particular steel grade.

Iron ore pellets are reduced using hydrogen. The result is sponge iron that is melted in an Electric arc furnace. Carbon is added as an alloy element in the EAF, among with other alloying elements.

From the state of the liquid metal there is no difference compared to the Blast Furnace route in terms of dissolved hydrogen due to the high temperatures and mobility of hydrogen.

After the continuous casting the steel slabs are reheated to rolling temperature. IF those furnaces are operated with hydrogen, or green electricity, that step is fossil free too. Also here there is no difference in terms of hydrogen embrittlement since pH2O is high also when CH4 is used as fuel i.e. a lot of water vapor in the atmosphere of the heating furnaces in the rolling mill.

Craig from Oz
August 23, 2021 6:12 pm

Steel is an alloy that contains carbon. Deliberately.

So if the steel does not contain carbon, is it still steel?

Asking for Griff.

ResourceGuy
August 24, 2021 9:17 am

Just sell the brittle steel vehicles to the Americans–they won’t know the difference from all the other planned obsolescence, battery fires, and cost-cutting measures while meeting the new MPG fleet mandates.

Pravda Pundit
August 24, 2021 1:36 pm

Hydrogen in the steel can be removed by annealing in order to avoid hydrogen embrittlement.

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