June 17, 2021 Read More →

Volvo plans shift to fossil fuel-free steel for autos by 2026

The Guardian:

Volvo plans to build cars using steel made without fossil fuels by 2026, as part of a deal that could significantly reduce the carbon emissions from manufacturing its vehicles.

The Swedish carmaker and compatriot steelmaker SSAB signed a letter of intent to commercialise technology that replaces coal with hydrogen in a crucial part of the process.

Steel is a big contributor to global carbon emissions but it is widely seen as one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise. Blastfurnaces use huge amounts of energy, while carbon dioxide is also released when coking coal is used to remove oxygen from iron ore.

Volvo estimates the steel in its petrol and diesel cars accounts for 35% of carbon emitted during production. The figure is 20% for Volvo’s electric vehicles, which use significantly more energy in making batteries, although over the lifetime of an electric car, average resource and energy use is expected to be significantly lower.

Replacing coking coal with hydrogen is expected to reduce emissions from steelmaking by at least 90%.

The deal with SSAB is expected to make Volvo Cars, owned by the Chinese carmaker Geely, the first major marque to use the lower-emission steel. However, it will take some time to increase production to commercial scale and to test its safety.

[Jasper Jolly]

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