The whole country of Sweden produced just over 45 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2020, but across all its operations SSAB was responsible for almost 9 million. HYBRIT claims that by eliminating fossil fuels from the steelmaking process, it could reduce Sweden’s total CO2 emissions by “at least” 10%.


Martin Lindqvist, CEO of SSAB, told media: “The first fossil-free steel in the world is not only a breakthrough for SSAB, it represents proof that it’s possible to make the transition and significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of the steel industry. We hope that this will inspire others to also want to speed up the green transition.”

Anna Borg, CEO of Vattenfall, which is also responsible for some of Europe’s largest wind farms, said HYBRIT “shows how partnerships and collaboration can contribute to reducing emissions and building competitiveness for industries.”

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall say they will begin full industrial production of the new steel in 2026. Earlier this year, Volvo announced that it would be the first manufacturer to produce vehicles from fossil-free steel.

While this project might be the first to deliver, it’s far from the only project working on the challenge to create “green steel.” Other Swedes are racing to be the first to create industrial quantities, with H2 Green Steel claiming it will be up and running by 2024.

Outside Europe, China’s Baowu, the world’s largest steelmaker, has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and is beginning to develop hydrogen technologies as a way to cut fossil fuels out of production. India’s Tata steel has developed what it calls the HIsarna process, which still uses coal but claims to reduce emissions by 20%. Meanwhile, Japan’s COURSE 50 project uses a range of technologies to reduce emissions from the blast furnace.

Update 08/23/2021 BST0933: This post has been updated to clarify that the HYBRIT process covers the iron pelletizing and ironmaking stages of the process.