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Environment

Sweden's HYBRIT starts operations at pilot plant for fossil-free steel

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish green steel venture HYBRIT, owned by SSAB, state-owned utility Vattenfall [VATN.UL] and miner LKAB, on Monday started test operations at its pilot plant for fossil-free steel in Lulea, Sweden.

A successful development of the HYBRIT project could have big implications for efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions, with SSAB alone accounting for 10% of Sweden’s total and 7% of Finland’s.

The official start of operations at the plant, which will produce fossil-free sponge iron, essential for the steel production process, was attended by guests including Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

“There is a lot still to be done, and there are challenges remaining, but I dare to claim that this is a globally unique plant,” SSAB CEO Martin Lindqvist said.

The HYBRIT project aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen.

SSAB aims for the first fossil-free steel to be commercially available by 2026, and to become fossil free in its operations by 2045.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; editing by David Evans

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