For visitors to SSAB's stand at Elmia Subcontractor, there is one topic that overshadows all others - fossil-free steel. And it's already here," says Thomas Hörnfeldt, Vice President Sustainable Business.
- "We introduced our recycled steel, SSAB Zero, as a product in March this year and since 2021 we have delivered SSAB Fossil-free from our pilot plant in Luleå where we have a fossil-free production based on the Hybrit technology," explains Thomas Hörnfeldt.
Several of SSAB's partners in the transition have thus gained some access to the fossil-free steel, including Scania and Volvo Trucks.
- "If you buy an electric heavy truck from Volvo today, you can, if you are lucky, get a truck where parts of the chassis consist of fossil-free steel," says Thomas.
SSAB already supplies fossil-free metal powder for additive manufacturing.
High demand among subcontractors
In addition, the world's first fossil-free consumer product has been launched.
- "A Swedish company, TRIWA, has developed a watch with fossil-free steel in the case and a bracelet made from recycled ocean plastic," says Mr Hörnfeldt.
Demand for fossil-free steel is high among Swedish subcontractors. SSAB plans to deliver on a commercial scale by around 2026. The fossil-free sponge iron will be produced in a demonstration plant in Gällivare, close to LKAB's mines.
Two of SSAB's plants in the US are already producing new raw material based on recycled steel in an emission-free way using wind power and biogas, and a similar plant will be up and running in Sweden by 2026.
- Considering that the steel industry has looked the same since the 14th century, the development is incredibly fast, says Thomas Hörnfeldt.
World leader in fossil-free steel
And there is a clear deadline. By 2030, SSAB expects to be a fossil-free company, in line with customer requirements. The question is what this means for SSAB's global position in terms of sustainability in steel production?
- With all humility, I can say that we at SSAB are world leaders when it comes to fossil-free steel. We have had our pilot plant in operation since 2020 and no one else has achieved this," says Thomas Hörnfeldt.
Being a Swedish company in this context has a great advantage, he says.
- "We have the Swedish electricity grid behind us, we have access to the clean electricity needed to make this journey. This is an advantage for Sweden.
Important to be available at the fair
SSAB is a long-standing exhibitor at Elmia Subcontractor where it meets a large number of its customers in the manufacturing industry.
- It is important for us because it is a subcontracting fair. Companies like Volvo and Scania have high sustainability goals, they want their subcontractors to use fossil-free steel, so it is important for us to be here and to be available," says Thomas Hörnfeldt.