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A World-First: Volvo Unveils Its New Vehicle Made of Fossil-Free Steel

The announcement comes a few months after a collaboration with a Swedish joint venture.

Moving a step closer to a world that depends less on fossil fuels, Swedish manufacturer, Volvo has unveiled a load carrier made out of fossil-free steel. The vehicle operates autonomously and can follow a pre-defined path at a job site, Engadget reported.

According to a McKinsey report, every ton of steel produced generates an average of 1.85 tons of carbon dioxide. Steel production accounts for eight percent of annual carbon emissions in the world and decarbonizing the production is a major challenge for countries pledging zero emissions by 2050.

In August, we reported multi-company Swedish initiative HYBRIT had the delivered fossil-free steel to Volvo in a world-first, marking an important milestone in that journey. Now Volvo has unveiled its load carrier made from this steel. 

As seen in the video, the carrier does not have a driver's cabin since it works autonomously to transport materials at a job site. While the video does not reveal much about the capabilities of the carrier, Engadget reported that the vehicle also has an electric motor ensuring that the operations do not generate any emissions.

“Having the world’s first actual vehicle made using SSAB’s fossil-free steel is a true milestone," said Martin Lindqvist, President, and CEO at SSAB, one of the collaborators on the HYBRIT initiative. "Our collaboration with Volvo Group shows that green transition is possible and brings results." The technology replaces the fossil fuels used in steelmaking with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. 

However, as Forbes noted, the electric motor on the carrier is not entirely made from fossil-free steel, therefore the company cannot claim to have made a completely emission-free vehicle. To answer the claims, Volvo Chief Technical Office, Lars Stenqvist told the publication that three tons of green steel were used to make the load carrier while the vehicle weight is over eight tons. However, the total weight also includes higher weight components like massive tires with high load-bearing capacities. 

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“This initiative with SSAB sets the benchmark for a fossil-free future," said Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO, Volvo Group in a press release. "Just as the nations of the world come together at COP26 to address climate change, so too must organizations and industries work in collaboration to develop innovative new solutions for a greenhouse gas emission free future."

Volvo also told Engadget that it will begin small-scale production of these new carriers as of next year. As the steel production from HYBRIT scales up, Volvo will also launch more concept vehicles and components using this steel in the near future. 

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