The HYBRIT-initiative, driven by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, has received €143 million ($157 million) from the European Union. The project will provide industrial- and commercial-scale demonstration of a complete value chain for hydrogen-based iron- and steelmaking, from mine to fossil-free steel.
The funding has been injected into HYBRIT as one of seven innovative projects under the Innovation Fund.
The grant consists of:
• €108 million ($119 million) (Hybrit Development AB) for a demonstration of the hydrogen direct reduction process, including fossil-free hydrogen production in Gällivare;
• €30 million ($33 million) (SSAB) for the demonstration of electric melting of hydrogen-based direct reduced iron in Oxelösund;
• €5 million ($5.5 million) (LKAB) for the demonstration of fossil-free DR-pellets production for the hydrogen reduction process.
Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the European Commission responsible for the European Green Deal, commented on the funding announcement in a statement: “HYBRIT (…) demonstrates how fast the green transition can happen: a few years ago, the possibility of producing emission-free steel would have sounded like science fiction. Now, green steel is entering the market.
“The support granted via the Innovation Fund is testament to the importance and potential of this technology, and the European Commission is convinced that this cutting-edge project will boost the European Union’s overall competitiveness. Green steel has the future, and that future is already here.”
The HYBRIT project will replace coal-based blast furnaces with direct hydrogen-based reduction technology. It aims to demonstrate a complete industrial value chain for fossil-free hydrogen-based iron and steelmaking.
The project itself will produce approximately 1.35 million tonnes hydrogen reduced iron (sponge iron) annually, to be used for producing crude steel amounting to 25% of Sweden’s total production.
This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14.3 million tonnes CO2 over the first 10 years of operation, according to the Innovation Fund calculation model.
A new facility will be established for first-of-a-kind hydrogen-based direct reduction, with 500MW fossil-free electrolysis in Gällivare. SSAB will replace its blast furnaces by an electric furnace in Oxelösund, Sweden.
HYBRIT also plans to show the viability of technologies needed to melt hydrogen-reduced iron into crude steel.
HYBRIT aims to advance the development toward eliminating emissions from iron and steel production by using fossil-free hydrogen for direct reduction of iron ore in the process.
HYBRIT value chain
Going forward, the project will continue to prove the technical and commercial viability of the HYBRIT value chain. This includes:
1. Demonstration of the hydrogen direct reduction process, including fossil-free hydrogen production in Gällivare, Sweden.
2. Demonstration of electric melting of hydrogen-based direct reduced iron and
3. Demonstration of fossil-free DR-pellets production for the hydrogen reduction process.
Lars Ydreskog, senior vice president of strategic projects, LKAB, stated: “We are glad to receive this significant contribution from the EU Innovation Fund to our continued journey in transforming the iron and steel industry.
“With the upcoming plant in Gällivare, we will establish a first-of-a-kind facility and process for producing fossil-free sponge iron on industrial scale. This will demonstrate the true potential of the HYBRIT technology and pave the way for competitive production of fossil-free steel and a sustainable future.”
EU Innovation Fund
Martin Pei, SSAB CTO, added: “We’d like to thank the EU Innovation Fund for their trust and confidence in the HYBRIT-initiative as well as the ability to create a completely fossil-free value chain from mine to steel.
“We now want to accelerate the transformation and thus decrease our emission footprint even faster, now targeting around 2030. Mitigating climate change is of utmost importance and there is no time to lose.”
The EU Innovation Fund is one of the world’s largest funding programmes for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The EU is investing more than €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) in total across the seven projects that cover various relevant sectors to decarbonise the European industry and energy sectors. Such sectors include chemicals, steel, cement, refineries, and power and heat.
The HYBRIT demonstration project is the only iron- and steel project to have been granted support in the first Innovation Fund call for large-scale projects.
The grant agreement was signed by the parties at an official ceremony held in Stockholm, Sweden, on April 1 2022.