Swedish start-up H2 Green Steel is confident customers are willing to pay a premium for green steel and is expanding its project portfolio.

The company has four new large projects, “close to moving into the permitting phase,” Kallanish learns from its vice president for growth and hydrogen business Kajsa Ryttberg-Walgren. The pre-feasibility stage projects are located in Quebec (Canada), Texas (US), Brazil and Portugal, she reveals at the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam.

H2 Green Steel has been searching for these “perfect locations” for two years, the executive adds, without elaborating on details. “They are like the gold mines of the future.”

Its pioneering project in Boden, Sweden, a greenfield steel mill, relies on a giga-scale electrolyser to bring 5 million tonnes of green steel to the market by 2030. With a €6.5 billion financial closure, the project will produce 100,000 tonnes/year of green hydrogen, using 750 megawatts of renewable power. First production is expected in 2026.

This new steelmaking route can reduce emissions by 95%, decarbonising a sector that accounts for 8% of the global CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. But to cost-effectively replace coal with green hydrogen in steelmaking, a steel manufacturer would have to be in places with abundant renewables at a low cost.

“We should rethink the value chain. It doesn’t make sense to build a plant that is dependent on maybe 20 terawatt-hours of renewables in a location where you don’t have renewables,” argues Ryttberg-Walgren.

While recognising that hydrogen imports can be a decarbonisation enabler, she says there are “better ways” for the steel industry to get energy indirectly to Europe, such as through premium iron (HBI) imports. “Instead of trying to protect everything that you have today, think about – how can I protect what should be protected for the future? It’s a very political topic,” she adds.

Ryttberg-Walgren notes that if Europe is to meet the Paris agreement target, a lot of “political courage” will be required.

Plans to use green hydrogen to export decarbonised iron to Europe and elsewhere are high on the agenda of countries such as Namibia, South Africa and Brazil.