Sweden’s largest fossil-free hydrogen facility to be built at Ovako steel site

Fossil-free hydrogen initiative to enable clean steel is run by Ovako, Volvo Group, Hitachi ABB Power Grids Sweden, H2 Green Steel and Nel Hydrogen.

Ovako is collaborating with the Volvo Group, Hitachi ABB Power Grids Sweden, H2 Green Steel and Nel Hydrogen to invest in hydrogen production in Hofors for a fossil-free steel production facility, H2Bulletin reports.

The plant is expected to be the largest fossil-free hydrogen facility in Sweden, aiming to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by enabling fossil-free steel in Hofors, Sweden.

The electrolyser will be installed at Ovako’s site in Hofors and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, subject to permits. The 17 MW plant will produce 3,500 cubic meters of fossil-free hydrogen per hour.

Ovako claimed to be the first in the world to heat steel with hydrogen prior to rolling. The switch to green hydrogen in the production process will reduce emissions from the facility by 50% from current levels. The plan is to use hydrogen in all of Ovako’s units. The project is also expected to build hydrogen infrastructure for fossil-free freight using fuel-cell trucks in the future.

The investment of around SEK 180 million is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency via the Industriklivet initiative. The Swedish Energy Agency also supports the initiative for establishing industry-wide use of fossil-free hydrogen. Furthermore, there is also a plan to build a hydrogen refuelling station beside the hydrogen plant for heavy vehicles.

Nel will supply the project with electrolyser equipment and work with partners to further develop fossil-free steel production.

Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG aim to start with customer tests of fuel-cell trucks in about three years and to be in series production of fuel-cell trucks during the second half of this decade. With other major truck manufacturers, Volvo Group is calling for the setup of around 300 high-performance hydrogen refuelling stations suitable for heavy-duty vehicles by 2025. The collaboration with Ovako is a crucial step in this direction.

Marcus Hedblom, President and CEO Ovako, said, “Since 2015, Ovako has reduced its CO2 emissions by 54%, and we will now be the first steel company to show that it is possible to eliminate CO2 for heating steel before rolling and get even closer to climate-neutral production.”

Lars Stenqvist, Chief Technology Officer Volvo Group, said,  “Decentralised hydrogen production in the steel industry fits very well with the transport industry’s need for fossil-free fuel.”

Jenny Larsson, MD, Hitachi ABB Power Grids Sweden, said, “We look forward to acquiring knowledge about how an electrolysis plant can interact with the existing electricity network and become an important resource for its stability.”

Maria Persson Gulda, CTO at H2 Green Steel, said, “Together with Ovako, we are now able to test the production of fossil-free hydrogen and assess how this fuel can best be used to achieve and control the high temperatures required to produce high-quality steel. This knowledge will serve as important input into our own large-scale hydrogen production starting in Boden in 2024,”

Jon André Løkke, Chief Executive Officer, Nel, said, “We are very excited to enter into this shared initiative to jointly develop fossil-free alternatives for the steel industry.”

Klara Helstad, head of the sustainable industry unit at the Swedish Energy Agency, said, “We see this investment in hydrogen at Ovako as a strategically important effort in the transition to a more fossil-free society.”

Ethan Mandel

Ethan is the special correspondent for Europe covering the hydrogen industry for H2 Bulletin. Please click on the email icon to contact me via email or follow me on social media. I am reachable on Phone: +44 (0) 208 123 7812
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