Hybrit Research Project 1 – research for fossil-free iron and steel

In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology) – the initiative aiming to develop the world’s first fossil-free ore based steel making technology. RP1 is the Hybrit research project that explores pathways for a transition to a fossil-free value chain and provides a basis for future industrial development activities.


Background and Objective

In Paris, December 2015, countries of the world agreed on a new global climate agreement, on how to limit the global rise in temperature to 1.5°C.  As a response, the Government of Sweden proposed that Sweden should take a forefront position and have no net emissions of greenhouse gases by the year of 2045. 

HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology) is an initiative of the three companies SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, with the aim of developing the world's first fossil-free ore-based steelmaking route. In traditional steelmaking from iron ore, carbon is required for the chemical reduction of the ore in the production of (metallic) iron. Hydrogen replacing carbon as reductant, is the most sustainable and technically promising option for the iron and steel industry, since CO2 will be replaced by water vapor.
The objective of HYBRIT RP1 is to explore and assess pathways to fossil free energy-mining-iron-steel value chains and thereby provide a basis for industrial development activities and future transformative change. HYBRIT research project RP1 has been initiated July 2017 and is a joint initiative between academia, research institutes and industry and is realized with financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten).


The RP1 project partners






The eight work packages within the project address the central research issues. They are associated with a transition to hydrogen and resulting fundamental changes in energy systems, iron ore and steel-making process technologies, as well as markets and policies.

Steel-making process technologies


WP1 – Providing energy for fossil free steel production and effects on the electrical power system  

Work package 1 investigates optimal ways to integrate the fossil free steel production in the Swedish power system. The work package will seek cost-effective solutions to minimize the cost of hydrogen and grid reinforcement with respect to a growing share of variable renewable energy sources. 

WP2 – Hydrogen production and storage

Safe and reliable delivery of hydrogen at competitive price levels is an important question for a fossil-free HYBRIT production process. The objective of the research in this work package is to develop recommendations regarding design and layout of a hydrogen value chain. 

WP3 – Fossil-free iron ore pellets production
Today’s pelletizing plants around the world are fired with fossil fuels - mainly coal, heavy oil, and natural gas. This work package will investigate suitable methods and technologies to replace fossil fuel-based heating methods presently used in pellets induration processes with biofuels, hydrogen or electricity based heating.

WP4 – Hydrogen based iron ore reduction

Direct reduction (DR) is a steel production method with low CO2 emission, compared to other methods. For a more climate-friendly and fossil-free process the use of hydrogen, fossil free carbon units, and electricity in the reduction process is of central importance. The aim of work package 4 is to clarify the possibilities to produce Direct reduction iron (DRI) with a hydrogen rich reduction gas. 

WP5 – Steelmaking from hydrogen reduced iron

Carbon plays a vital role in iron- and steelmaking. In the HYBRIT scenario, no or very low carbon content DRI will be produced in the DR-process and used as feedstock for Electric Arc Furnace (EAF). Therefore, investigating how carbon-level will affect slag metal reactions and foaming will be a key area for WP5. 

WP6 – System integration, transition pathways and policy strategies

The research of this work package puts the technology development and engineering analysis efforts into a wider system and institutional context. The research puts focus on identifying transition pathways and elaborating the associated policy and governance implications. 

WP7 + WP8 – communication and dissemination and program management

Research project 1 is a joint initiative between research institutes, universities and industrial partners. Internal communication and collaboration between partners and between different steps in the value chain are critical for a successful project execution.
Work package 7 is dedicated to communication and dissemination of the research work. Project management for the entire RP1 project is organized as part of work package 8.