Construction set to begin on biofuel-powered iron ore pilot project

April 1, 2019 |

In Sweden, construction will soon begin on a world-unique test facility which is a key component of HYBRIT, a joint initiative of LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall. In the plant, fossil fuels will be replaced with biofuel to achieve fossil-free production of iron ore pellets. The aim of the HYBRIT initiative, which is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency, is to develop a process for fossil-free steelmaking by 2035.

As part of the HYBRIT initiative a biofuel-based plant is to be built at LKAB’s Malmberget site. This project will cost in the region of SEK80 million. Testing a bio-oil system is part of the pilot phase and the objective is to convert one of LKAB’s pelletizing plants from fossil fuel to 100-percent-renewable fuel. This means that fossil-generated carbon dioxide emissions from the Malmberget operation will be reduced by up to 40 percent during the test period, which corresponds to about 60,000 tonnes per year. Eventually, LKAB hopes to achieve totally carbon-dioxide-free pellet production.

In 2016 LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT in an effort to revolutionize iron and steel production. The aim is to develop the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking process, in which carbon dioxide emissions are virtually eliminated, by 2035. In 2018 the Swedish Energy Agency announced that it would contribute funding amounting to more than SEK500 million towards the pilot-scale development of an industrial process, with three owners, LKAB, SSAB and Vattenfall, each contributing a third of the outstanding capital for the project.

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