Hybrit project (fossil-free steel making)
Traditional iron ore based steelmaking requires large quantities of carbon for the chemical reduction of the ore in the production of iron. The process results in millions of tons of CO2 every year and the process alone stands for more than 10% of Sweden’s total CO2 emissions. To live up to the ambitious task of a carbon neutral Sweden by 2045, the industry will have to be revolutionized.
The HYBRIT initiative
In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology) – the initiative aiming to develop the world’s first fossil-free ore based steel making technology. A pre-study found that hydrogen is the most sustainable and technically promising option to replace carbon. In doing so, CO2 emissions will be replaced by water vapour, drastically reducing the carbon footprint of the industry.
RP1 is the Hybrit Research Program that explores different pathways for a transition to a fossil-free value chain and provides a basis for future industrial development activities. It is a joint initiative between academia, research institutes and industry and is realized with financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten).
The research conducted in the unit of Process within Hybrit RP1 has mainly two focuses:
- The hydrogen based iron ore reduction
- The steelmaking from the hydrogen reduced iron.
In the first part where hydrogen reduction of iron ore is studied, different temperatures and gas mixtures are employed to reduce the iron ore while the reactions are continuously studied. In the second part, the melting and refining of the hydrogen reduced iron are in focus. A laboratory containing several high temperature furnaces are used daily to study the mechanisms that control the reactions. It is necessary to find the best pathways for a transition to a fossil-free steelmaking route.