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Volvo shows the world’s first “green steel” car – made without fossil fuels thanks to hydrogen

Steel, present in vehicles, buildings and devices, represents one of the main sources of CO2 emissions. As an alternative, the Swedish SSAB announced last August the production of the first “green steel”. A “fossil-free steel” which does not generate CO2, as explained by the manufacturer.

The first customer in the automotive world to bet on this material is also Swedish: Volvo. Today the manufacturer has shown the first car in the world to use this new type of steel.

For now it is a single model, but by 2026 they want to produce it on a large scale

Works

It is a kind of trailer with four wheels, totally electric and designed for quarries and mining. It is also autonomous and can follow a pre-programmed route to transport materials, but their main difference is that “most of the steel in the vehicle” is fossil-free, according to Lars Stenqvist, Volvo CTO.

The vehicle is not completely emission-free, as not all of it is made of “green steel” of the company SSAB. For example, the electric motor comes from external suppliers and here traditional materials are used. Of the 8.2 tons that the vehicle weighs, at least 3 tons are produced with this new steel.

The company’s goal is start small-scale production by next year, depending on the production capacity of SSAB. The long-term idea is to be able to produce it on a large scale in 2026, so it would not be surprising that during the next few years Volvo will show different prototypes and vehicles made with this “green steel”.

How this “fossil-free steel” is produced

The initiative HYBRIT (‘Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology’) was born in 2016, when SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall started the production of iron and steel without using coal in the process. Instead it is committed to green hydrogen produced from electrolysis.

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The most modern method of producing steel is based on the injection of oxygen. In this process the coal furnace is replaced by an electric arc furnace powered by renewable energy. In other words, coking coal is dispensed with for the production of heat.

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At the moment the production capacity of “green steel” is very limited, but SSAB expects to significantly increase its capacity over the next few years. Steelmaking has changed multiple times since its discovery and this renewable energy-based process has, if it proves its efficiency, many numbers to be copied by large steel companies.

More information | SSAB