Next big step for HYBRIT

  • 2020-06-04
  • 17:06
  • News

Photo: Åsa Bäcklin

HYBRIT, the collaboration between LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall, which aims to develop the world’s first fossil-free ore-based steel manufacturing process, is now taking a major step forward. The construction of an industrial scale demonstration plant is now being prepared and consultations will commence before choosing a location in Norrbotten.

The start of the construction is planned for 2023 and the goal is to put the plant into operation in 2025. The idea is to be able to demonstrate a full-scale production with a capacity of just over one million tonnes of iron per year, i.e. 20 percent of LKAB’s total processing capacity in Malmberget and almost half of the production capacity of SSAB’s blast furnace in Luleå. The goal is to be the first in the world with fossil-free steel as early as 2026, LKAB writes in a press release.

HYBRIT is now launching an investigation to determine the location for the demonstration plant for direct reduction of iron ore with hydrogen. Parallel consultations start at two alternative locations in Norrbotten; Vitåfors industrial area, in Gällivare municipality, where LKAB conducts mining operations, and Svartöns industrial area in Luleå, where SSAB’s steel mill and LKAB’s ore port are among others.

The purpose is to consult and have an open dialogue about the location and design of the facility for upcoming site selection and permit application. Consultations with authorities, organizations and the public will begin in June and end in September 2020. Choice of site has a major impact on future competitiveness and climate benefit. Investment decisions are made after a permit test and other investigations.

– We want to build the facility in Norrbotten. There is good access to fossil-free electricity, expertise and close collaboration with academia and society. A demonstration plant for fossil-free iron-making would also be positive for development and jobs in the region and also contribute to a great climate benefit, says Martin Pei, Technical Director, SSAB and chairman of HYBRIT.

– For LKAB, HYBRIT is an important puzzle piece in a green transition where we want to climate-optimize the entire chain from mine to finished steel by 2045. We want Norrbotten to become a world-leading innovation arena and a knowledge center for the global mining and mineral industry, says Markus Petäjäniemi , Director Marketing and Technology LKAB.

– It is very positive that Vattenfall together with our partners continue to take clear steps forward with HYBRIT. The electrification with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen makes fossil-free steel a very important contribution to our fossil-free future, says Andreas Regnell, Strategy Manager, Vattenfall.

At the same time, HYBRIT’s pilot phase is underway. In Luleå, the fossil-free steel pilot plant will be completed in the summer and preparations have also begun to build a temporary hydrogen storage facility to test the technology for storing hydrogen in rock cavities.

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