Volvo Cars is teaming up with Swedish steelmaker SSAB to jointly explore the development of fossil-free, high quality steel for use in the automotive industry.
HYBRIT was started by SSAB, iron ore producer LKAB and energy firm Vattenfall.
It aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen.
The result is expected to be the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.
As part of the collaboration, Volvo Cars will be the first car maker to secure SSAB steel made from hydrogen-reduced iron from HYBRIT’s pilot plant in Luleå, Sweden. This steel will be used for testing purposes and may be used in a concept car.
In 2026, SSAB aims to supply the market with fossil-free steel at a commercial scale. Volvo Cars aim to also be the first car maker to use fossil-free steel for its own production cars.
“As we continuously reduce our total carbon footprint, we know that steel is a major area for further progress,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive at Volvo Cars.
“The collaboration with SSAB on fossil-free steel development could give significant emission reductions in our supply chain.”
The global steel industry accounts for around seven percent of global direct carbon emissions, due to the fact that the industry is currently dominated by an iron ore-based steel making technology, using blast furnaces depending on coking coal.
For Volvo Cars, the CO2 emissions related to steel and iron production for its cars amount to around 35 percent in a traditionally powered car and 20 percent in a fully electric car of the total CO2 emissions from the material and production of the components going into the car.
In the short term, these and other steps aim to reduce the life cycle carbon footprint per car by 40 percent between 2018 and 2025.
By 2040, Volvo Cars’ ambition is to be a climate neutral company.