A Vattenfall-led joint-venture for fossil-free steel production (HYBRIT initiative) will join the Leadership Group for Industry Transition launched by Sweden and India at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

The Swedish utility together with steel maker SSAB and mining company LKAB in the HYBRIT initiative is striving to develop the world’s first fossil-free, ore-based steelmaking process by 2035.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven presented HYBRIT as one of the most ambitious and transformative initiatives to tackle climate change due to the importance of industry for the transition ot a fossil-free society.

“The steel industry is seen, as one of the 'hard to abate' sectors, but we firmly believe that net zero emissions is possible. That’s why we took the initiative to create HYBRIT,” SSAB chief executive Martin Lindqvist said.

“Fossil free steel has tremendous potential and could help many customer segments to truly become fossil free.”

The Leadership Group will work towards accelerating transition of all industry sectors to low carbon pathways in line with the goals of Paris Agreement, while pursuing efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The by-product of using fossil-free electricity and hydrogen in steelmaking, instead of coke and coal, will be water instead of CO2. The initiative has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent, Vattenfall said.

“With HYBRIT and Leadership Group we take the opportunity to be part of the transition and to work on solutions for the most important challenge of our time,” Vattenfall chief executive Magnus Hall said.

“Together we want to inspire others to collaborate across organizational borders as real change and new business opportunities require a fossil-free value chain approach.”

87 companies pledge for 1.5° C future

Also at the UN Climate Action Summit, 87 major companies - with a combined market capitalization of over $2.3 trillion and annual direct emissions equivalent to 73 coal-fired power plants – jointly pledged to set climate targets across their operations and value chains to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The group includes utilities EDP and Orsted, as well as telecoms firms América Móvil or Deutsche Telekom, and insurance groups such as PensionDenmark or Swiss Re.

“It is encouraging to see many first-movers in the private sector align with civil society and ambitious Governments by stepping up in support of a 1.5°C future,” UN Secretary General António Guterres said.

“Now we need many more companies to join the movement, sending a clear signal that markets are shifting.”

In July, companies such as Acciona, Telefonica and Unilever had already joined the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C – our only future” campaign.