Steelmaker SSAB Americas has announced plans to turn to fossil-free steel production by 2026. The firm, based in Sweden, operates mills in Alabama and Iowa, creating high-strength steel primarily from recycled scrap.
SSAB expects its Montpelier, Iowa, mill to be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2022.
Today, both US mills use almost 100 percent scrap materials as the basis for new steel production. In the next few years, both plan to add sponge iron to the mix. Unlike pig iron, which begins with iron ore melted to liquid in a blast furnace, sponge iron is created directly from iron ore by reduction in a solid-state process. The sponge iron is produced in Sweden in a collaboration between SSAB and Swedish energy company Vattenfall.
“Ultimately, our goal is to create a completely fossil-free value chain, from the raw materials and through to the end products,” said Chuck Schmitt, president of SSAB Americas, which is a division of global steelmaker SSAB. Headquarters of SSAB Americas is in Mobile.
Moving to a mix of recycled and sponge iron, using renewable energy for electric arc furnaces and producing steel that is itself recyclable will all help the company achieve its fossil-free goal.