Tag Archives: Andreas Regnell

HYBRIT partners inaugurate fossil-free hydrogen gas storage pilot facility

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have, today, inaugurated HYBRIT’s pilot facility for fossil-free hydrogen gas storage at Svartöberget in Luleå, Sweden.

The rock cavern storage facility is the first of its kind in the world, with the inauguration ceremony marking the start of the two-year test period, which will run until 2024.

The HYBRIT initiative was launched in 2016 by the three owners: SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall. Within this, the hydrogen storage facility will play a very important role in the overall value chain for fossil-free iron and steel production. Producing fossil-free hydrogen gas when there is a lot of electricity, for example when it is very windy, and using stored hydrogen gas when the electricity system is under strain, will ensure a steady production of sponge iron, the raw material behind fossil-free steel, the partners said.

The technology for storing gas in a lined rock cavern (LRC) is well proven and has been used in southern Sweden for about 20 years for storing natural gas, the partners says. Now the technology is taking a step forward by the development for storage of hydrogen gas. The storage facility is set to be used more dynamically, being filled and emptied at pace with the hydrogen production.

The pilot plant has a size of 100 cu.m. At a later stage, a full-scale hydrogen gas storage facility measuring 100,000-120,000 cu.m may be required, in which case it will be able to store up to 100 GWh of electricity converted to hydrogen gas, which is sufficient to supply a full-sized sponge iron factory for three to four days.

Andreas Regnell, Chairman of the Board, Hybrit Development AB (HDAB), and Senior Vice President and Head of Strategic Development at Vattenfall, said: “We want to develop HYBRIT so that it is in line with the electricity system of the future, with more weather-dependent electricity generation. The storage facility is unique and, once again, the HYBRIT initiative is taking the lead in the fossil-free transition. HYBRIT is very important for facing the climate challenge and enabling fossil-free living within one generation.”

Martin Pei, CTO at SSAB, added: “SSAB has the opportunity to transform our operations and cut 10% of Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions as well as 7% of Finland’s, and this will take us one step closer to our goal. The hydrogen storage facility is an important piece of the puzzle in ensuring stable steel production and a milestone in the development of HYBRIT.”

Lars Ydreskog, Senior Vice President Strategic Projects at LKAB, said hydrogen gas and its storage were central to its transition.

“In four years, HYBRIT technology will be used on a large scale in the first demonstration plant in Gällivare, and the plan is to then build more sponge iron factories,” Ydreskog said. “LKAB will, therefore, need to become one of Europe’s biggest hydrogen producers, and this pilot project will provide valuable knowledge for the continuing work on creating the world’s first fossil-free value chain for the iron and steel industry.”

Using HYBRIT technology, SSAB can reduce Sweden’s carbon dioxide emissions by 10%. SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have invested a total of SEK259 million ($25 million) in the hydrogen storage itself, divided into three equal parts, and the Swedish Energy Agency has contributed with SEK72 million.

HYBRIT partners start building underground fossil-free hydrogen storage facility in Luleå

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have commenced building a rock cavern storage facility for fossil-free hydrogen gas on a pilot scale next to the HYBRIT pilot facility for direct reduced iron in Luleå, northern Sweden.

This is an important step in the development of a fossil-free value chain for fossil-free steel, the companies said, with the investment of just over SEK250 million ($29 million) divided equally across the holding companies and the Swedish Energy Agency, which provides support via Industriklivet.

As part of the SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joint HYBRIT initiative, Hybrit Development AB is starting the construction of a hydrogen storage facility in Svartöberget to develop the technology for storage.

Fossil-free hydrogen, which will replace coal and coke, is a crucial part of the production technique for fossil-free iron and steel production, where emissions of carbon dioxide will be virtually eliminated, the companies said. Hydrogen can be produced cost effectively through the electrolysis of water using fossil-free electricity. The hydrogen produced by the electrolysers can be used immediately or stored for later use.

Hydrogen storage is predicted to play a very important role in future power and energy balancing, and in large-scale hydrogen production, according to the companies. The storage facility is expected to be operational from 2022-2024.

Andreas Regnell, Head of Strategy at Vattenfall and Chairman of the Board at HYBRIT, said: “We’re really pleased that HYBRIT is continuing to lead the development of efficient production for fossil-free steel, as we’re now also building a pilot storage facility for large-scale fossil-free hydrogen in Luleå.

“Storage provides the opportunity to vary demand for electricity and stabilise the energy system by producing hydrogen when there’s a lot of electricity, for example in windy conditions, and to use stored hydrogen when the electricity system is under strain.”

Martin Pei, Technical Director of SSAB and Board member of HYBRIT, said: “By developing a method for hydrogen storage and securing access to fossil-free electricity, we’re creating a value chain all the way out to customers where everything is fossil-free – from the mine to the electricity and to the finished steel. This is unique.”

The 100 cu.m hydrogen storage is being built in an enclosed rock cavern around 30 m below ground. Building the storage facility underground provides opportunities to ensure the pressure required to store large amounts of energy in the form of hydrogen in a cost-effective way, the companies said.

The technology used is adapted to Scandinavian bedrock conditions and will be further developed to handle the storage of hydrogen.

The storage facility is based on proven technology and the hydrogen is used in the plant’s direct reduction reactor to remove oxygen from iron ore pellets, the companies said. The fossil-free sponge iron resulting from the process is then used as a raw material in the manufacture of fossil-free steel.

Industrialisation of fossil-free steel under the HYBRIT initiative is intended to start with the first demonstration plant, which will be ready in 2026, for the production of 1.3 Mt of fossil-free sponge iron in Gällivare, Sweden. The goal is to expand sponge iron production to a full industrial scale of 2.7 Mt/y by 2030 to be able to supply SSAB, among others, with feedstock for fossil-free steel.