Volvo Announces Plan To Develop Fossil-Free Steel

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No matter how progressive a car company gets — no matter how seriously it takes recycling or risk market share to offer cruelty-free interiors — modern cars need steel, and manufacturing steel without the use of fossil fuels remains a challenge. Luckily, it’s a challenge that Volvo, at least, seems to be willing to take on.

In a bid to meet its stated “carbon free” goals, Volvo is teaming up with Swedish steel manufacturer SSAB and its HYBRIT initiative, which is being called “the industry’s most ambitious and advanced project” in terms of fossil-free steel development.

“We are building an entirely fossil-free value chain all the way to the end customer,” explained Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB, in a statement released today. “Our breakthrough technology has virtually no carbon footprint and will help strengthen our customer’s (market) competitiveness. Together with Volvo Cars, we aim to develop fossil-free steel products for the cars of the future.”

According to Volvo, the steel industry accounts for some 7% of total direct carbon emissions. That’s largely due to the fact that the industry is currently dominated by an old-style, iron-based technology that relies on using blast furnaces depending on coking coal. In terms of car-building, the company says that CO2 emissions related to steel and iron production for its cars amount to around 35% of the car’s total emissions in an ICE car, and 20% in a battery EV. So, EVs are better, but 20% of a car’s total emissions is still a whole lot of carbon!

One More Step Toward Net Zero

Image courtesy of Volvo Trucks

This latest partnership is just one of many for Volvo cars and Volvo trucks, which have recently announced similar partnerships with companies like shipping giants DHL (above) and the city of Gothenburg to help reach its overall goal of building a truly carbon-neutral car by 2030 without relying on carbon credits.

It’s a lofty goal, sure, but one that Volvo seems well-positioned to take seriously. That may be just me, though — what do you guys think? Is this focus on reduced carbon emissions in manufacturing the right way forward, or should Volvo follow the path others are taking by focusing primarily on “tailpipe” emissions? Scroll on down to the comments section and let us know.

Source | ImagesVolvo Cars.

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