The collaboration makes Volvo Cars the first auto manufacturer to work with the Swedish steel maker and its HYBRIT initiative.
HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. The goal is to manufacture the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.
As part of the collaboration, Volvo Cars will use SSAB steel made from hydrogen-reduced iron for testing purposes and possibly in a future concept car.
Volvo Cars also aims to be the first car maker to use fossil-free steel for its own production cars, according to Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive at Volvo Cars.
“As we continuously reduce our total carbon footprint, we know that steel is a major area for further progress,” he said. “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 7% 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. SSAB wants to change that with its new technology, according to Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB said.
“We are building an entirely fossil-free value chain all the way to the end customer,” he said. “Our breakthrough technology has virtually no carbon footprint and will help strengthen our customer´s competitiveness. Together with Volvo Cars, we aim to develop fossil-free steel products for the cars of the future.”
The HYBRIT initiative could be a gamechanger for Volvo as the CO2 emissions related to steel and iron production for its cars amount to around 35% in a traditionally powered car and 20% in a fully electric car of the total CO2 emissions from the material and production of the components going into the vehicle.
The collaboration with SSAB is the latest initiative that supports Volvo Cars’ overall climate action plan. The centrepiece of the plan is Volvo Cars’ ambition to be a fully electric car brand by 2030, with only pure electric cars in its line-up.