SSAB Americas, a division of global steelmaker SSAB, announced that all their operations would produce steel using fossil-free steel processes beginning in 2026. SSAB America’s mill in Motpelier, Iowa is on track to be fully powered by renewable energy by 2022.
SSAB Americas’ EAF mills use almost 100pc recycled scrap metal in their production process. Additionally, the Iowa and Alabama sites intend to incorporate the use of fossil-free sponge iron (HBI) produced in Sweden by HYBRIT, a joint project between SSAB, the Swedish Energy Agency, Swedish mining firm LKAB, and Vattenfall, a Swedish energy company.
According to a pre-feasibility study in 2017, given today’s price of electricity, coal and cost of carbon emissions, fossil-free steel is about 20-30pc more expensive than traditional manufacturing methods. HYBRIT’s pilot plant began construction in mid-2018 and some positive outcomes are expected before 2025.
Founded in 2016, HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen.
MidAmerican Energy, a division of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, is SSAB’s partner for renewable power in Iowa via wind farms. It is scheduled to deliver renewable energy at 100pc energy used on an annual basis by 2021.
Chuck Schmitt, President of SSAB Americas, said the goal is to create a completely fossil-free value chain from raw materials through the finished product.