Volvo Group and SSAB have signed an agreement for research, development, serial production and commercialisation for vehicles to be made of fossil-free steel.

Volvo plans production of concept vehicles and components this year from steel made by SSAB using hydrogen.

“We are determined to be a climate-neutral company by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement,” said Volvo Group president and CEO, Martin Lundstedt. “This means our vehicles and machines will be emission-free when in operation, but also that we will review the materials, like steel, used in our products and will gradually switch to fossil-free alternatives here as well.”

For his part, SSAB president and CEO, Martin Lindqvist, added: “We are now taking a giant leap towards an entirely fossil-free value chain all the way to the end customer. Together with Volvo Group, we will start work on the development and serial production of fossil-free steel products.

“We will work together with our customers to reduce their climate impact while strengthening their competitiveness. We are constantly looking at how we can become a more comprehensive supplier of fossil-free steel to customers like Volvo.”

Volvo will start manufacturing the first concept vehicles and machines with steel from SSAB using hydrogen in 2021. Plans are for smaller-scale serial production to start during 2022 and for a gradual escalation towards mass production to follow. Volvo and SSAB will also work together in research and development to optimise the use of steel in Volvo’s products.

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Newly made fossil-free steel from SSAB will be an important complement to traditional and recycled steel used in Volvo’s trucks, construction equipment and other products. Fossil-free steel will be made by a new technology using fossil-free electricity and hydrogen.

The collaboration framework also includes a review of common logistics solutions, which can contribute to reducing SSAB’s environmental impact from internal and external transports. The ambition is to use Volvo vehicles powered by batteries or fuel cells.

SSAB aims to start supplying the market with fossil-free steel at commercial scale in 2026. Development of a fossil-free value chain from mine to finished steel products will take place within the framework of the HYBRIT initiative, which SSAB has been driving with LKAB and Vattenfall since 2016.

A pilot plant has been in place since August, 2020 and this will soon start to produce smaller volumes of sponge iron made using hydrogen. The steel will be used to make steel for use in the collaboration.

See also: BMW invests in CO2-free steel production for sustainability win