SSAB is rising to the challenge
Zero-emission steel lays the foundation for the next era of human progress
Dek: The steel industry is at an inflection point as the global climate crisis looms. One company takes up this challenge and introduces the first emission-free form of the material.
From the ancient Hittites early experiments in forging iron(opens in a new tab) In the construction of modern skyscrapers, steel has guaranteed progress for centuries. Known for its versatility and durability, the material has been an integral part of the development of infrastructure, tools and machines throughout human history, enabling societies to progress and thrive.
But today the steel industry is at a turning point. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that the sector is responsible 7% of global CO₂ emissions(opens in a new tab). Still, there is a tremendous opportunity for steel to contribute to some of the world’s most promising climate solutions: it’s currently used in solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and more. As the IEA puts it, “Steel needs energy and the energy system needs steel.”
To counteract this paradox, engineers are now working to develop more sustainable methods of steel production. It is a crucial step in preserving the planet while further promoting innovation and development.
SSAB(opens in a new tab), a specialized steel company, is one company actively working on such solutions. The company recently announced the launch of SSAB zero(opens in a new tab)™ – the world’s first zero-emission steel made from recycled raw materials and produced with completely fossil-free energy sources.
Paving the way for a future without fossil fuels
According to the American Iron and Steel Institute(opens in a new tab)Scrap-based electric arc furnace production now accounts for 70% of US steel production. But SSAB Zero’s pioneering process uses only fossil-free electricity in its electric arc furnace, effectively reducing the material’s carbon emissions to zero.
To produce the product, an electric arc furnace is charged with scrap metal. Oxygen blasts and lime and slag foamers are then added to form slag. Finally, molten iron pours out of a tap. Fossil-free electricity is used throughout the process. The Swedish company Volvo Group already signed a supply contract for SSAB Zero Steel at the market launch.
There is a significant demand for such steel. According to this, the global market for green steel, which is estimated at US$83.4 million in 2021, is expected to increase to US$386.1 billion by 2031 Allied Market Research(opens in a new tab). It makes sense that the demand would be tremendous given that steel is ubiquitous in our homes, schools, hospitals, bridges and the vehicles that get us to all of these destinations.
The automotive industry in particular is in dire need of green steel solutions, as the material is part of everything from car chassis to electric vehicle batteries. As manufacturers around the world struggle to reduce the automotive sector’s CO2 emissions, they are increasingly recognizing the potential of green steel – and indeed, major car manufacturers such as Ford and Mercedes-Benz have already placed orders for SSAB Fossil-free™ steel.
Photo credit: SSAB
A groundbreaking moment for green steel
With the development of zero-emission steel, SSAB is not only redefining the industry, but also contributing to global efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainability. According to the IEA, global demand for steel is expected to increase by more than a third of its current levels by 2050 – and a more sustainable solution will be crucial to ensure the industry’s carbon emissions don’t increase at the same time.
As SSAB continues to innovate and refine its production methods for green steel, the company is poised to become a driving force in the shift to a more sustainable future. The introduction of SSAB Zero marks a new era for the industry – and a new stage in the timeline of steel’s remarkable contributions to human progress.
Photo credit: SSAB
Learn more(opens in a new tab) about SSAB Zero and how SSAB is revolutionizing the future of green steel.