WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Industries like the steel industry are among the world’s most polluting, but new technologies and techniques are making it greener.
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The world’s first customer delivery of so called “Green Steel,” which was produced without using coal, took place in Sweden last week, according to its manufacturer. The Swedish venture Hybrit said it was delivering the steel to truck maker Volvo as a trial run before full commercial production in 2026. Volvo has said it will start production in 2021 of prototype vehicles and components from the green steel.
Steel production using coal accounts for around 8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions so even though this announcement might be lost on most people it’s a very important milestone for what’s generally regarded as one of the world’s worst polluting industries. It’s also an industry that Bill Gates has been actively trying to “green” via significant multi-million dollar investments in companies like Heliogen whose Solar Oven technology, which, you guessed it, is powered by solar, can provide the enormous amounts of heat needed to smelt aluminium, concrete, and steel without the need for fossil fuels.
Hybrit originally started test operations at its pilot plant for green steel in Lulea, northern Sweden, a year ago, and they want to completely replace coking coal, which is traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with renewable electricity and hydrogen – both of which play key roles in helping the EU reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Hybrit is owned by the steelmaker SSAB, state owned utility Vattenfall, and miner LKAB, with SSAB accounting for more than 10% of Sweden’s and 7% of Finland’s total carbon dioxide emissions, and the company said the trial delivery was an “important step towards a completely fossil-free value chain […] with the goal being to deliver fossil-free steel to the market and demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026.”
Not to be out done though another green steel venture, H2 Green Steel, is planning to build a fossil fuel-free steel plant in the north of Sweden, including a sustainable hydrogen facility, with production starting in 2024 …