The Volvo Group and steel technology group SSAB confirmed in April they had inked a deal to together research, develop, serially produce and commercialize the world’s first vehicles to be made of fossil-free steel.
“Newly-made fossil-free steel from SSAB will be an important complement to the traditional and recycled steel used in Volvo’s trucks, construction equipment and other products,” SSAB said in a statement, noting that it will be making fossil-free steel with a completely new technology that will use fossil-free electricity and hydrogen.
“The result will be a much lower climate impact and a fossil-free value chain. The steel industry considers that the need for steel will grow significantly in the long term and that newly made fossil-free steel will be needed to meet this demand.”
This year, Volvo will begin with the production of concept vehicles and steel components.
Martin Lundstedt, Volvo president and CEO, said the push is part of its goal to be a climate-neutral company by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.
“This means that our vehicles and machines will be emission-free when in operation but also that we will review the materials, like steel, used in our products and will gradually switch to fossil-free alternatives here as well. This is an important step on the road to completely climate-neutral transports,” he added.
Martin Lindqvist, president and CEO at SSAB, noted that both companies want an entirely fossil-fuel free value chain that extends to the end customer. As part of that, it wants to also work with customers to reduce their climate impact while strengthening their competitiveness.
“We see a new green revolution emerging,” he said.
Plans for smaller-scale serial production will be made during 2022, and a gradual escalation towards mass production will follow. They are hoping to achieve serial production within a few years. In fact, SSAB aims said, its own goal is to start supplying the market with fossil-free steel at a commercial scale in 2026.
“Development of a fossil-free value chain from mine to finished steel products will take place within the framework of the HYBRIT initiative, which SSAB has been driving with LKAB and Vattenfall since 2016. A pilot plant has been in place since August 2020 and this will soon start to produce smaller volumes of sponge iron made using hydrogen. This steel will be used to make the steel for use in this collaboration,” SSAB confirmed.