German plant builder SMS group has selected ABB’s latest generation of drives to provide process technology for H2 Green Steel's plant in Boden, Sweden.

The project is currently in its first phase and will begin production at the end of 2025. It uses hydrogen in the furnaces rather than fossil fuels, resulting in steel with 95% lower CO2 emissions than conventional methods.

The steel industry, says the International Energy Agency, is responsible for an estimated 8% of the world’s energy demand and generates between 7% and 9% of CO₂ emissions – most of which are from burning fossil fuels.

"Our drives have a long track record in the most demanding applications, and it is exciting that they will now contribute to green steel production at Boden."

Chris Poynter, division president for system drives at ABB Motion.

“This is the latest development in ABB’s longstanding relationship with SMS group. Our drives have a long track record in the most demanding applications, and it is exciting that they will now contribute to green steel production at Boden. We are proud to play a role in the transformation of the steel industry as it shifts to hydrogen combustion,” said Chris Poynter division president for system drives, ABB Motion.

ABB says it will provide around 1,200 ACS880 low voltage (LV) drives for use throughout nine demanding areas of plant, including the tunnel furnace, plate mill, and the annealing and galvanizing line. These drives will provide precision control of equipment as well as a consistent, stable supply of electricity. In addition, ABB will provide 11 ACS6080 medium voltage (MV) drives in individual and multi-drive configurations for use in the project’s hot and tandem cold mills. These applications depend on the ACS6080’s industry-leading precision to ensure uniform mechanical qualities, thickness and finish.

A multi-drive configuration enables a single drive cabinet to control several motors independently, says ABB, claiming that the advantages are a smaller footprint and greater energy efficiency, including the capability to share energy captured by regenerative braking. For the plant's hot finishing mills, the multi-drive concept is claimed to ensure grid-friendly operation and low harmonic content. Multi-drives also achieve increased reliability and optimized installation costs, ABB says.

The Boden plant is on course for large-scale production from 2026 and by 2030 it is expected to supply 5Mt million tons of green steel per year.