Epiroc and SSAB partner for fossil-free steel equipment

Epiroc will initially use fossil-free steel for material for a prototype underground machine produced at its facility in Örebro, Sweden

Epiroc is starting a partnership with steelmaker SSAB to secure fossil-free steel for use in the production of its mining equipment.

Epiroc will initially use fossil-free steel for material for a prototype underground machine produced at its facility in Örebro, Sweden, and the plan is to increase the usage of fossil-free steel over time.

SSAB aims to deliver fossil-free steel to the market in commercial scale during 2026, and delivered the first steel made of hydrogen-reduced iron in 2021.

SAB works with iron ore producer LKAB and energy company Vattenfall as part of the HYBRIT initiative to develop a value chain for fossil-free iron- and steel production, replacing coking coal traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. This process virtually eliminates carbon dioxide-emissions in steel production.

“Sustainability is integrated in everything we do, and we are committed to halving our CO2 emissions by 2030," said Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO. “It is clear that our innovation agenda goes hand-in-hand with our customers’ sustainability agenda.”

Martin Lindqvist, SSAB’s President and CEO, said the fossil fuel-free collaboration was a "natural next step" in its joint efforts to mitigate climate change.

"Demand for fossil-free steel is increasing, which is one of the reasons for SSAB to bring forward its green transition with the ambition to largely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions around 2030," he said. 

In the shift to a low-carbon economy, development of new technologies like this is crucial for making the transition possible. The partnership with SSAB fits well with Epiroc’s ambitious sustainability goals for 2030 including halving its CO2e emissions.

In 2021, Epiroc received validation from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for its targets to reduce emissions in own operations as well as when customers use the sold products. The SBTi validated Epiroc’s climate targets as being in line with keeping global warming at a maximum 1.5°C, consistent with the latest climate science and the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.

In addition, Epiroc’s 2030 sustainability goals include halving its CO2 emissions in transport as well as from relevant suppliers, having 90% renewable energy in own operations, and offering a full range of emissions-free products.

In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative that endeavours to revolutionise steelmaking.

Using HYBRIT technology, SSAB aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking technology, with virtually no carbon footprint. Our goal is to reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%.

Currently the steel industry is among the three biggest producers of carbon dioxide, with emissions being produced by a limited number of locations; steel plants are therefore a good candidate for decarbonisation. 

Every ton of steel produced in 2018 emitted on average 1.85 tons of carbon dioxide, equating to about 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to McKinsey.

It forecasts pure hydrogen-based steel production is expected to be cash cost competitive between 2030-2040 in Europe.

"Future availability of cheap energy from renewables and regulation will be the two key drivers for the adoption of hydrogen-based steel," it concludes.

"Asset and footprint decisions need to be made today and must follow a clear decarbonisation road map."  

Share

Featured Articles

EC on Importance of Minerals Security Partnership Forum

The European Commission's communications team explains what the Minerals Security Partnership Forum is, what it will do and why it is so important

EU & US form Critical Minerals Security Partnership Forum

European Union & US government form new forum to secure critical mineral supply chains, boost production, secure ESG standards & promote fair competition

World Gold Council: Gold Miners 'Must Create ESG Value'

John Mulligan is Climate Change Lead at the World Gold Council. Here he discusses the sustainability & ESG challenges facing the gold mining industry

Clean Energy Drive 'Fuelling Tech Adoption in Mining'

Technology

Exyn Technologies to Share 3D Mine Survey Insights

Digital Mining

Green Steel Push 'Needs New Regulations and Incentives'

Sustainability