International series Sweden forges ahead in the field of sustainability

Author Stéphane Itasse

Sweden – When it comes to sustainability, Germany, with the energy revolution and other activities, is the pioneer among the industrial nations for a long time. Nevertheless, now it has to face competition from the far north. Sweden and its industry are starting highly interesting projects for this purpose.

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Without greenhouse gas in the future: The Swedish steel group SSAB explores with partners a method of production to emit only water.
Without greenhouse gas in the future: The Swedish steel group SSAB explores with partners a method of production to emit only water.
(Bild: SSAB)

While the steel industry in Germany still complains about the pressures by CO2-certificates and the Trade Association of Steel propagates that a CO2-free steel production is not possible at all, Swedish companies are tackling this challenge.The steel manufacturer SSAB, the commodities group LKAB and the power company Vattenfall, together are eager to achieve sustainable steel production completely without CO2-emission. As informed by the three enterprises during the start of their joint project, in future only water will accumulate instead of greenhouse gases.

It is further stated that the production facilities of SSAB presently rank among the most efficient ones worldwide in terms of CO2-emission. However, the company is Sweden’s single largest emitter of greenhouse gas with its currently operating coking plants and furnaces. With its specialised and innovative steel industry, best quality iron ore deposits in the whole of Europe and the means to generate electricity without fossil fuels, Sweden holds an exceptional position for such a project. Also, in addition to universities and research institutes, even the Swedish Energy Agency supports the project and co-finances the preliminary study.


Complete CO2-free steel production is striven for the future

“The project could be the beginning of a radical transformation for the Swedish steel industry. It could even mean that Sweden is the world’s first industrial nation that introduces a hydrogen-based steel production on a large scale,” says Klara Helstad, Chairwoman of the unit for sustainable industry at the Energy Agency. “Environment and sustainability are already a part of SSAB’s long-term strategy for many years. Yet we are eager to do even more. With this initiative,we take the responsibility to solve the longstanding problem of carbon dioxide emissions in the steel industry,” says Martin Lindqvist, president and CEO of SSAB.

“For the treatment of its iron ore products, LKAB uses processes which require less energy and thus cause lesser emission than most of our competitors. However, we also focus on improving the processes of our clients. This step towards CO2-free production of pig iron will be a significant contribution to sustainability,” President and Group-CEO of LKAB Jan Moström explains.

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