LKAB takes the leap towards fossil-free production of iron ore pellets

Euromines member LKAB has partnered with SSAB and Vattenfall to create HYBRIT, a joint venture company that is working to be the first in the world to create fossil-free steel at the industrial level. Construction will soon begin on a world-unique test facility which is a key component of HYBRIT. 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.

Fossil-free steel production starts at the mine and LKAB is working hard to determine the design of the next generation of pelletizing plants. 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 80 million kronor. 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.

“Within HYBRIT, LKAB is examining options for replacing the heating technologies used in the pellet process, which are the heart of our processing plants. In parallel, trials will be conducted in an experimental facility in Luleå using an alternative heating technology. Trials will determine whether new biofuels and plasma burners will work in the unique setting of a pellet plant. Ultimately, this will make LKAB’s iron ore pellets completely carbon-dioxide-free,” says Jan Moström, LKAB’s President and CEO.

To read more about the project please visit: HYBRIT project website(link is external).

Download files