Fossil-free steel - material smelted using only renewable energy sources - is at the core of Epiroc's newest prototype mining truck, the battery-electric Minetruck MT42. Using fossil-free steel for the underground truck's dump box will save about 10 tonnes of CO2 emissions per manufactured box, the equivalent of taking five gasoline-powered cars out of service for a full year.
Epiroc says that partnering with SSAB, the manufacturer of the fossil-free steel, is a way to accelerate its drive towards a more sustainable future while delivering the world's greenest machines.
"Our innovation agenda goes hand in hand with our customers' sustainability agenda," says Sami Niiranen, President of Epiroc's Underground division. "In the shift to a new, low-carbon economy, our products and services will be a key contributor for our customers to meet their climate goals."
SSAB delivered its first steel made from hydrogen-reduced iron in 2021, and is targeting 2026 for delivery at a commercial scale. SSAB works with iron ore producer LKAB and energy company Vattenfall in Sweden as part of the HYBRIT initiative to develop a value chain for fossil-free iron and steel production, replacing coking coal traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. This process virtually eliminates carbon dioxide emissions in steel production.
"The development of new technologies is essential to enable the transition to a low-carbon economy," says Johnny Sjöström, head of SSAB Special Steels. "Our fossil-free steel immediately reduces the carbon footprint to near zero without compromising the high quality and properties you would expect from SSAB steels. It is the same steel, just without the negative environmental impact."
The Minetruck MT42 Battery is a key step in Epiroc's development of new cutting-edge, environmentally smart mining equipment. As an emissions-free vehicle, the truck can make an impact both on reducing carbon emissions overall as well as the operator's work environment, improving productivity.
"We all play a part in creating a more sustainable future," says Camilla Goldbeck-Löwe, Vice President Corporate Responsibility at Epiroc. "Our partnership with SSAB has enabled us to present the world's first underground mine truck made using fossil-free steel."