LKAB Presents Fossil Free Swedish Model for Steel Making
Sweden’s state owned mining and mineral group LKAB will switch from producing iron ore pellets to producing carbon-free sponge iron using new,
hydrogen-based technology. It will be the largest industrial initiative in modern times and when fully introduced it will create thousands of new jobs and cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by the company’s customers worldwide by 35 million tonnes, equivalent to two thirds of Sweden’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil-free Sweden aims to clear away obstacles to this and other major industrial start-ups that are able to cement Sweden’s role as a permanent world exhibition for fossil-free technology. Under the government fossil-free Sweden initiative, 22 industrial sectors have developed road maps that show how they can become fossil-free or climate-neutral while boosting their competitiveness. Based on this, Fossil-free Sweden now aims to identify and clear away obstacles for a number of upcoming industrial projects that will provide the greatest global climate benefit while also contributing to more jobs and greater welfare in Sweden.
The most talked-about examples so far are the HYBRIT development project in which SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall are collaborating on a process to enable the reduction of steel from iron ore using hydrogen instead of carbon, and Northvolt, which will be Europe’s biggest battery factory with a focus on sustainability and recycling. Preem is also worth a mention; after backing out of an investment in the expansion of fossil capacity, it is now planning to develop biofuel refineries.
LKAB’s newly adopted strategy represents the biggest Swedish industrial investment ever with annual investments of SEK 10 to 20 billion over 20 years. The plan is based on a commercial assessment of the future market. By offering carbon-free products, LKAB can more than double its annual sales up until 2045, and have the ability to supply the world market with the essential carbon-free iron when the global economy transitions and begins building tomorrow’s railways, wind turbines, electric cars and industrial machinery.