North Sweden Cleantech

Fossil-free steel demonstration plant in Vitåfors – direct reduction of iron ore pellets with hydrogen

HYBRIT’s demonstration plant in Vitåfors, northern Sweden, will demonstrate the value chain for fossil-free steel on an industrial scale. It includes production of hydrogen in order to manufacture sponge iron by direct reduction. The plant is due to open in 2026.

HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology) was founded by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall to develop a fossil-free value supply chain for iron and steel production, using fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. The HYBRIT technology involves replacing the blast furnace process, which uses carbon and coke to remove the oxygen from iron ore, with a direct reduction process using fossil-free hydrogen. The hydrogen is produced from water using electricity from fossil-free energy sources. Instead of CO2, the process will only release water vapour.

Demonstration of production on an industrial scale

Once complete, HYBRIT’s demonstration hydrogen direct reduction plant in Gällivare Municipality will demonstrate the production of fossil-free steel on an industrial scale. The demonstration plant includes hydrogen production and manufacturing of sponge iron by direct reduction with hydrogen. This involves development in several fields of technology. The unique, innovative aspect of the plant is to industrialise known technology and develop certain strategic technical elements to bring the process together. The aim is to enable and scale up the fossil-free process to an industrial and commercial level.

Current progress

The project is currently studying conditions at the site, along with a variety of alternatives to design the outline of the process. The next step is to establish the components required to achieve optimum efficiency and safety, as well as the minimum environmental impact. The same applies to the plant’s external energy supply and inputs, and the delivery of products and by-products.

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