Volvo will be the first truck manufacturer in the world to use “green” steel, that is, steel manufactured without using fossil fuels as an energy source. The Swedish company will start using this steel in its electric trucks this year.
The Swedish company’s heavy-duty electric trucks will be the first to use this material. The steel, produced by the Swedish steel company SSAB, will be used in the truck’s frame rails, the backbone of the truck on which all other major components are mounted. As the availability of fossil-free steel increases, it will be used in other parts of the truck as well.
Volvo Trucks’ commitment, in line with the Paris agreement, is to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions throughout the value chain by 2040, later than. This means reducing not only the local emissions of vehicles (those emitted during circulation), but also during their manufacture, component logistics and subsequent management (recycling).
“We will increase the use of fossil-free materials in all of our trucks to make them clean, not only in how they function, but also in the materials they are built with,” said Jessica Sandström, Senior Vice President of Product Management. Volvo Trucks products. Currently, around 30% of the materials in a new Volvo truck are recycled materials (including recycled “conventional” steel) and 90% of the truck can be recycled at the end of its useful life.
The Volvo Group has decided to take this step after starting to collaborate with SSAB in 2021. Last year Volvo started using the first machine made from this steel, a forklift used in its factory.
Instead of using coal or gas to heat the furnaces, SSAB’s steel is produced using a hydrogen based technology. The hydrogen used in the process is obtained by electrolysis of water with electricity from non-fossil sources. The hydrogen can be used directly to heat the steel or stored for later use. The result is a much lower climate impact than that of conventionally produced steel.
Small-scale introduction of “green” steel in Volvo electric trucks to begin in the third quarter of 2022. However, the objectives of the actors involved are much more ambitious: the companies SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall created HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology) in 2016, with the aim of developing a technology for the manufacture of iron and steel without fossil fuels. Their vision is to supply the market with fossil-free steel and to bring the technology to a truly industrial scale by 2026. Using this technology, SSAB claims to have the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by about 10% and those of Finland by approximately 7%.