Sweden’s SSAB to deliver fossil-free steel to Mercedes-Benz

Luxury German carmaker Mercedes-Benz expects to produce the first prototype parts for its vehicles’ body shells made of Sweden’s specialty steelmaker SSAB fossil-free steel in 2022, part of the car manufacturer’s plan to achieve zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2039 at the latest, the company said Sept. 1.

“In 2026, SSAB [via the HYBRIT project] plans to supply the market with fossil-free steel at a commercial scale after the conversion of its Oxelösund blast furnaces to an electric arc furnace and by using HYBRIT technology, which replaces coking coal, traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen,” the company said in a statement.

On Aug. 18, the HYBRIT project, whose stakeholders are Sweden’s specialty steelmaker SSAB, iron ore pellet producer LKAB and power producer Vattenfall, manufactured the world’s first fossil-free steel and delivered it to the Volvo Group.

“We are extremely happy to welcome Mercedes-Benz as a partner for fossil-free steel products,” said SSAB CEO Martin Lindqvist in a statement. “Together, we are building an entirely fossil-free value chain all the way to the end customer.”

In June, a HYBRIT pilot plant in Lulea, Sweden, produced the world’s first sponge iron reduced using fossil-free hydrogen gas. The successful completion of tests proved it was possible to use fossil-free hydrogen gas to reduce iron ore instead of using coal and coke to remove the oxygen, it said at the time.

In July, SSAB said its green hydrogen pilot plant successfully produced 100 mt of iron in initial output since starting in the second quarter and prototype steel to be delivered this year for vehicles. The company, at the time, said it was considering fast-tracking its Lulea blast furnace-based steelworks to be carbon emissions free, ahead of plans by ArcelorMittal to offer hydrogen-based steel.

— Filip Warwick