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Volvo and SSAB collaborate on fossil-free steel

Written by Thembani Magazi – April 14, 2020

Reviewed by Asaf Kedem

Here at Automotive Trendy we’ve recently talked about the promising new partnerships that Volvo group has entered into as part of their sustainability strategy. They just seem to be on a roll lately. Allow us to also inform you of their latest partnership with SSAB. SSAB is a Nordic and US-based steel company who is now partnering with Volvo group to make the world’s first vehicles made of fossil-free steel. Fantastic news!

“We are determined to be a climate-neutral company by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement. This means that 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. This is an important step on the road to completely climate-neutral transports,” proclaims Martin Lundstedt, the CEO of Volvo Group. The company is committed to climate friendly solutions that positively impact their business model and take advantage of the cutting edge science at their disposal.

Volvo will start manufacturing the first concept vehicles and machines with steel from SSAB using hydrogen this year 2021. Plans are for smaller-scale serial production to start during 2022 and for a gradual upscaling towards mass production to follow. For those unfamiliar with the process, serial production involves production of a batch of products, after which production is stopped. This enables the manufacturer to adapt the manufacturing machines for the production of a new type of product. Volvo and SSAB will also work together in research and development to optimize the use of steel in Volvo’s products with attention placed on weight and quality. Together, the two companies will develop a number of products of fossil-free steel with the goal of reaching serial production in a few years.

Newly made steel from SSAB will be an important complement to the traditional and recycled steel used in Volvo’s trucks, construction equipment and other products. SSAB’s steel will be made by a completely new technology using clean electricity and hydrogen. The net result will be a much lower climate impact and a greener value chain. The steel industry considers that the need for steel will grow in the long term and that newly made fossil-free steel will be needed to meet this demand.

Auto Trendy’s take:

Fossil-free steel is a much welcomed innovation in automotive. It’s a welcome innovation in all manufacturing requiring steel parts. Both the global economy and the natural environment can breathe a sigh of relief as SSAB aims to start supplying the market with this steel at a commercial scale in 2026. The climate situation worldwide is grave and the sustainability objectives laid out by companies like Volvo are a step in the right direction. Volvo is likely to keep its momentum going with these visionary partnerships and we at Automotive Trendy, as always, will be here to report these innovations with you.

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