World’s first building with fossil-free steel inaugurated in Sweden: SSAB

  • Material manufacturing accounts for most of construction’s climate impact
  • Fossil-free steel contained in sandwich panels that make parts of walls
Nordic steel company SSAB, together with Nordic community builder Peab and Swedish property developer Wihlborgs, have inaugurated what they call the world’s first building with fossil-free steel, SSAB said in a statement Nov. 8.

The building — Tomaten 1 — in Lund, in the southern Swedish province of Scania, is an industrial facility covering 6,000 square meters. Its wall and roof structures were designed and produced by Ruukki Construction, a division of SSAB, and parts of it were manufactured using the company’s fossil-free steel.

The SSAB Zero steel — made from scrap and renewable power and biogas with less than 50 kg of Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions per metric ton of steel — is contained in the building’s sandwich panels made by Ruukki in Finland for parts of the walls.

SSAB currently produces SSAB Zero in the US state of Iowa, where it operates electric arc furnaces and slab casters. The company said earlier it aimed to make 40,000 mt of this premium-priced steel this year, up from 500 mt made in 2022.

SSAB claims Peab has become the first construction company globally to use fossil-free steel in a completed building project.

“For SSAB, it’s not just about reducing our own emissions…but also about contributing to reducing the carbon footprint in other parts of the value chain,” Head of Sustainability at SSAB Christina Friborg said.

Construction and real estate together account for one fifth of Sweden’s domestic carbon dioxide emissions. In new construction projects, the manufacturing of materials and products accounts for the vast majority of the sectors’ climate impact, and if the construction and civil engineering industry is to reach climate neutrality by 2045, it requires new materials and products with a low impact on the environment, SSAB said, adding that in 2026 it will bring on to the market fossil-free steel that it will manufacture in Europe using HYBRIT technology.

It has trademarked this steel as a brand covering steel that it will produce using direct reduced iron, green hydrogen and fossil-free electricity through its HYBRIT joint venture with Swedish iron ore miner LKAB and Vattenfall. For this, SSAB will deploy EAFs in Sweden and Finland to produce steel commercially without using blast furnaces and iron ore with coke, coal and oil and gas-based fuels.

Author Katya

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.