EIT InnoEnergy to Back World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Steel Plant in Sweden

The plant will be European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Centre’s first flagship project; EIT InnoEnergy to mobilise €2.5 billion investment

 

Snapshot of a steel production plant, Credit: InnoEnergy website

Energy think tank EIT InnoEnergy has launched a new initiative to build a steel production plant powered entirely by green hydrogen: a global first. Dubbed the ‘H2 Green Steel Initiative’, it will push to furnish investments to the tune of €2.5 billion for financing the project, which aims to build a large-scale steel plant from scratch. The plant is expected to be constructed in North Sweden. EIT InnoEnergy has projected that large-scale production of steel could begin as soon as 2024. By the end of this decade, it expects the plant’s capacity to reach up to 5 million tonnes of high-quality steel every year.

The H2 Green Steel Initiative has proposed an integrated approach to setting up the hydrogen-powered steel plant. The project will include generating inexpensive renewable power, producing green hydrogen to process the iron and developing innovative downstream technologies to manufacture steel. Given its wide approach, the project anticipates collaborating with several key players in these sectors working in Sweden and Europe. EIT InnoEnergy has projected that the initiative will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The think tank zeroed in on Norrbotten, an area in North Sweden which has several factors working in its favour for the project. The area boasts of easy access to inexpensive energy generated by renewable sources and is also a rich source of high-quality iron ore. Over the decades, this has also fostered the growth and development of research and innovation centres in the areas of metallurgy and steel production. Norrbotten has also connected to the European market thanks to a large port at Lulea, boosting the plant’s economic viability.

Steel production companies in Europe have been facing the heat since they are notoriously difficult to decarbonise. At the same time, steel production contributes to 8% of the total carbon emissions generated by factories, vehicles, organisations and governments around the world. However, steel is an essential commodity, pushing governments and manufacturers both to find appropriate solutions in order to meet global carbon emission targets. Green hydrogen has emerged as a critical factor in this respect.

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