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H2 Green Steel: the first company to built a plan like this

Swedish start-up H2 Green Steel is planning to build Europe's first large-scale green steel plant in Boden, 900 km north of Stockholm. Instead of using coking coal and iron ore, the plant will use hydrogen technology, which is expected to reduce emissions by as much as 95%.

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A new steel plant just outside Boden in Sweden’s frozen north is set to produce Europe’s first commercial green steel. The plant will use a process that does not involve blast furnaces, which emit large quantities of carbon dioxide and contribute to global warming. The technology used in the plant involves the use of hydrogen to remove the oxygen from iron ore, resulting in water as the only waste product. The hydrogen will be produced using renewable electricity from nearby wind and hydro power stations.

H2 Green Steel is building Europe’s first commercial green steel plant in Boden, Sweden, which aims to use hydrogen technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95%. The traditional process of steel production contributes to around 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite construction still in progress, H2 Green Steel is confident it will begin commercial production of green steel by 2025. The plant, will be a start-up and the first of its kind in Europe. H2 Green Steel was established as a spin-off from Northvolt, Sweden’s giant electric battery factory, which sought a greener steel production method.

The plans to produce Europe’s first commercial green steel using hydrogen technology that cuts emissions by up to 95%, unlike traditional steelmaking that relies on blast furnaces and emits large quantities of CO2. The new plant, located in a small town in Sweden’s north, will use hydrogen to react with iron ore inside a direct reduction of iron (DRI) tower, producing water vapor as a by-product. The plant will generate all the hydrogen it uses, by electrolyzing water from a nearby river using local fossil-free energy sources, such as hydropower from the Lule river and wind parks.

H2Green Steel has signed a deal with Iberdrola to build a green steel plant in the Iberian peninsula powered by solar energy. The company is also exploring opportunities in Brazil. According to Ida-Linn Näzelius, the vice president of environment and society at H2 Green Steel, the location of the plant in Boden is unique due to the availability of space and green electricity from nearby hydropower and wind parks. The plant’s centrepiece will be a DRI tower, where hydrogen will react with iron ore to create a type of iron that can be used to make steel. All the hydrogen will be produced by H2Green Steel using an electrolyser that splits off hydrogen from water molecules.

The plant is expected to roll out the first commercial batches of steel by 2025 and is funded by the founders of battery factory Northvolt. H2Green Steel has also signed a deal with Iberdrola to build a green steel plant in the Iberian Peninsula and is exploring opportunities in Brazil. The project faces friendly competition from Hybrit, a joint venture between Nordic steel company SSAB, mining firm LKAB and energy company Vattenfall, aiming to open a similar fossil-free steel plant in northern Sweden by 2026. Despite the growth of green steel, H2 Green Steel’s production capacity of five million tonnes of green steel by 2030 is just a drop in the ocean compared to the 2,000 million tonnes of steel produced globally each year.

Several ventures are underway to increase the proportion of green steel available in Europe. These include GravitHy, planning to open a hydrogen-based plant in France in 2027, and Thyssenkrupp, aiming for carbon-neutral production at all its plants by 2045. Europe’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, and the Spanish government are investing in green steel projects in northern Spain. The EU is also finalising a new strategy, called the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, designed to make it more expensive for European companies to import cheaper, non-green steel from other parts of the world, giving industry the confidence to invest.

The Swedish start-up funded by two of Northvolt’s founders has signed a deal with Spanish energy company Iberdrola to build a green steel plant powered by solar energy, and is exploring other opportunities in Brazil. Other green steel projects in Europe include GravitHy in France and carbon-neutral production at Thyssenkrupp plants in Germany. However, the EU’s goal to produce more green steel may be hampered by the UK’s high energy prices and high unemployment in industrial heartlands if existing steel plants shut down. Nonetheless, the arrival of H2 Green Steel in Boden is being seen as a major opportunity for job creation in an area that has been struggling for decades.

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