In an effort to reduce its dependence upon fossil fuels, Swedish steelmaker SSAB has joined forces with the TFK Transport Research Institute (TFK) and Kalmar, part of Cargotec, to develop and test carbon dioxide-free internal transport powered by hydrogen and fuel cells.

According to Jacob Sandberg, site manager at SSAB Oxelosund, “This is a very good project for SSAB in Oxelosund, where we can really study the possibilities to reduce fossil fuel dependence.”

Over the next two years, SSAB, in collaboration with Kalmar and TFK, will implement a demonstration project where a heavy 14-tonne forklift truck will be fitted with fuel cells and run using hydrogen. This means the truck, which will be in normal use around the plant, will emit water and will be tested around the clock over a five to eight month period.

“The effects of using fuel cells will be analysed and assessed from the aspects of, among other things, energy efficiency, environmental aspects and operating costs,” said SSAB.

Thomas Malmborg, vice president, Forklift Trucks at Kalmar, said that his company’s strategy is to become a leading provider of sustainable solutions for heavy lifting equipment. “This initiative demonstrates our aim to co-create with the leading actors,” he said.

Most of the funding for the project, which is going to cost in excess of SEK 10 million (US$1.08 million) will be met by SSAB, Kalmar and the Swedish Energy Board.

In addition to this initiative, SSAB is also working on a carbon dioxide-free steel industry in association with LKAB and Vattenfall, which involves eliminating the basic cause of carbon dioxide emissions in the blast furnace process.