SSAB Americas to produce first fossil-free steel in North America

by David Fleschen

Steel manufacturer SSAB Americas has announced the intention for its operations to produce steel using a completely fossil-free process beginning in 2026. With this target, SSAB Americas will be the first North American supplier of fossil-free steel. SSAB Americas’ mill in Montpelier, Iowa is on track to be powered completely by renewable energy by 2022.

“SSAB continues to innovate our products and manufacturing processes, and accordingly, we will transition toward fossil-free steelmaking and renewable energy,” said Chuck Schmitt, president of SSAB Americas, a division of global steelmaker SSAB. “Our customers, end users and OEMs are excited to collaborate with us to enable them to be the first in their respective sectors to use SSAB fossil-free steel in their products. Ultimately, our goal is to create a completely fossil-free value chain, from the raw materials and through to the end products.”

SSAB’s US mills utilize scrap-based electric arc furnace (EAF) technology, using almost 100% recycled materials in their production process. In addition to scrap, SSAB Iowa and SSAB Alabama (located just outside of Mobile) intend to utilize fossil-free sponge iron produced in Sweden as part of the Hybrit project in the coming years, enabling the eventual production of fossil-free steel. (Hybrit is a joint project led by SSAB in collaboration with Swedish mining company LKAB and Swedish Energy company Vattenfall.) SSAB’s advanced high-strength steels, such as its Hardox and Strenx premium brands, will be further enhanced by a fossil-free production process.

“The future of manufacturing and renewable energy is happening right now, and I look forward to SSAB continuing to be an important part of that overall effort in Iowa,” said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. “Their long history of being a strong economic partner makes them a perfect example of the innovation and ingenuity that builds America’s heartland.”

SSAB Iowa partners with MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, for its renewable power, which is generated primarily by wind farms in Iowa. The high-quality steel produced by SSAB is used to build needed energy infrastructure such as wind towers and bridges, as well as heavy construction equipment. The new steel produced is also 100% recyclable. MidAmerican Energy’s GreenAdvantage® program verifies the annual production of energy delivered to its Iowa customers from clean, renewable sources as a percentage of total energy production. The Iowa Utilities Board, the state’s regulatory agency, verifies the percentage annually. MidAmerican Energy is on track to deliver renewable energy equal to 100% of energy used on an annual basis by 2021.

“MidAmerican is proud to deliver clean, renewable energy to our customers like SSAB so they can offer sustainable products and services to the people who rely on them,” said Adam Wright, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy. “We are continuing to invest in clean energy so that together with our customers, we can achieve a 100% renewable energy future that is great for the environment and important for our economy.”

Source: SSAB, Photo: Fotolia

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