The journey towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious steel industry is gaining momentum thanks to a groundbreaking development by HYBRIT, a collaborative venture involving Swedish companies SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall.
This ambitious alliance, initiated in 2016, is on a mission to produce fossil-free steel, and their latest achievement—successful hydrogen storage—marks a significant step toward achieving this goal.
Fossil-free hydrogen is a linchpin in the pursuit of fossil-free steel production. It’s not just about creating greener steel; it’s about fundamentally reshaping the steel industry to operate with reduced environmental impact. And here, the magic lies in the addition of hydrogen storage, a game-changing move that can substantially cut down the variable cost of hydrogen production, to the tune of 25 to 40 percent.
The hydrogen storage facility’s groundbreaking trial took place in the context of the electricity market. For a month, the goal was to produce hydrogen using fossil-free electricity, optimizing energy use at variable prices, such as during certain times of the day or when renewable energy sources were in abundance. The produced hydrogen was then seamlessly delivered to SSAB, an integral part of the HYBRIT partnership.
Marie Anheden, senior project manager at HYBRIT, expressed excitement about the results. Even under conditions with minimal price fluctuations, the outcome was remarkably positive. Vattenfall, an expert in optimizing energy trading and operations based on real-time electricity prices, worked closely with Hybrit Development to ensure the trials were successful. The key takeaway was the tangible cost savings achieved through strategic hydrogen storage usage.
The hydrogen storage system, located next to HYBRIT’s pilot plant for fossil-free iron in Luleå, has consistently demonstrated promising results. Its design, engineered for efficient filling and emptying with periods of low activity in between, proved its worth. Employing a simulation tool, a novel optimization model, and the 100 cubic meter pilot hydrogen storage in Luleå, this project pushed the boundaries of reducing hydrogen production costs.
In a world striving for sustainability and environmental responsibility, HYBRIT’s hydrogen storage achievement is more than just a technological triumph; it’s a pivotal step towards redefining steel production as we know it. With this advancement, we inch closer to a future where steel isn’t just strong; it’s also sustainably green.