• Hydrogen-powered steelmaking pilot plant opens in Luleå, Sweden

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The world’s first hydrogen-powered steelmaking pilot plant has officially been opened in Luleå, north Sweden, close to the border with Finland. The plant is part of the wider HYBRIT joint initiative between steelmaker SSAB, iron ore producer LKAB, and Vattenfall (with funding also provided by the Swedish Energy Agency), with other slated projects being fossil-free pelleting pilot plants at Malmberget and Luleå, and a hydrogen storage site at Luleå. The plant is to use renewable electricity to electrolyse water to produce hydrogen, using that hydrogen to reduce iron ore to sponge iron, which can then be used for steel production. Both natural gas and hydrogen will be used during the testing phase, which is to last from 2020-24, so that the two fuels can be compared. Steelmakers across Europe and the world will be highly interested in progress at the Luleå pilot plant, which was under construction for two years; for its part, SSAB plans to roll out hydrogen technology more widely after the current pilot phase.