Swedish steel manufacturer SSAB announced the world’s first delivery of fossil-free steel to truck, bus and construction equipment company Volvo Group, marking a major milestone on the road to reducing the environmental impact of one of the most difficult to decarbonize industrial sectors.

Steelmaking is one of the biggest emitters of CO2 globally, with total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the sector accounting for 7% – 9% of direct emissions from the global use of fossil fuels.

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The fossil-free steel was produced using technology developed by the HYBRIT initiative, established in 2016 through a collaboration with SSAB, electric utility Vattenfall and mining company LKAB, aiming to revolutionize steelmaking by replacing heavily polluting coking coal, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen.

The delivery marks the next step in a collaboration launched earlier this year by Volvo and SSAB, aimed at producing vehicles built with fossil-free steel, with smaller-scale serial production to start in 2022 and a gradual escalation towards mass production to follow.

The new milestone also aligns with the sustainability goals of both Volvo and SSAB. Volvo Group recently announced a goal to achieve net zero value chain emissions by 2040. In June, SSAB pledged to be the first steel company worldwide using HYBRIT technology to bring fossil-free steel to the global market by 2026.

Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO of SSAB, said:

“The first fossil-free steel in the world is not only a breakthrough for SSAB, it represents proof that it’s possible to make the transition and significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of the steel industry. We hope that this will inspire others to also want to speed up the green transition.”