Zero-carbon steel production

We want to speed up the expansion of zero-carbon steel markets. This is a vast challenge and so far, the number of involved parties and investments remain insufficient. The goal is to succeed in large-scale emissions cuts internationally, including Asia.

The steel industry accounts for seven per cent of global CO2 emissions, making it the second most significant user of coal after coal-fired power plants. To tackle this issue, the foundation is seeking to promote the commercialization of zero-carbon steel production in Northern Europe. This will later make it possible to accelerate the pace of industry change in other parts of the world. 

The foundation’s goal is to promote projects that facilitate the reduction of emissions in steel production and related climate policies. In Sweden, hydrogen is already used in the steelmaking process, and some customers are receiving batches of green steel and doing research on it. The scale is small for now, and the major steelmakers are still in the process of reviewing their strategies on the schedules and measures for making emissions cuts.

The foundation is also promoting the changes needed in steel demand and the infrastructure required  for zero carbon steel production. The steel industry offers the foundation an excellent opportunity to make a difference, given the foundation’s networks that connect it to key players in the steel sector. Internationally, several sector stakeholders are making swift progress in this area, so we continue to map out which projects will be designated future support from the foundation. The ultimate goal is to work together with other stakeholders to create a strategic map to effectively cut emissions and to understand the kinds of risks these activities entail.

The foundation’s general goals in this area include:

  1. To support the commercialization and market creation for zero-carbon steel in the EU and beyond by 2030. This can be achieved by creating both demand and policies for promoting emissions-free steel. 
  2. To promote overall transition to avoid delays in replacing coal-fired plants and to promote the steel industry’s use of renewable energy sources. The goal is to create synergies to accelerate emissions cuts in electricity generation, too.
  3. To produce assessments on the transition programmes of steel producers and establish investment criteria. This will make it easier for institutional investors to assess and reduce investment risk in steel sector companies.
  4. To steer steel consumption towards areas in which it is absolutely necessary, and replace it with other materials in less important areas. Policy steering and advocacy is required in the most important uses of steel, such as construction and car manufacturing and transport. 
  5. To reduce the use of coal in the power production used for the steel industry, especially while increasing the use of recycled steel. To boost the international development of steel-recycling and the use of renewable electricity in its production.
  6. To construct examples and narratives of a successful and significant transition in heavy industry, first within the EU and later globally.
  7. To increase the capacity of renewable electricity production at a faster pace, for example locally bypassing electricity grid bottlenecks, to produce lower cost hydrogen.