2018/12/19 Innovations,Sustainability

Researchers at Luleå University of Technology are helping Höganäs AB to become fossil-free

The Swedish Energy Agency has awarded a four-year research project worth more than SEK 5 million to Höganäs AB and Luleå University of Technology.
“The project will develop knowledge of bio-coal in order to replace as much fossil coal as possible in our manufacturing processes and at other companies in the industry,” says Ryan Robinson, engineer at Höganäs.

Höganäs is working in several parallel tracks in order to phase out fossil coal and reduce its climate impact. To replace the biggest element, fossil coal, more basic research is needed into bio-coal and its properties. This is where Luleå University of Technology will offer its help in a joint research project, which is now being supported by the Swedish Energy Agency.

“Most of the aid will go to the university to finance the team of researchers who will be working on the project. Without the money, we wouldn’t have been able to carry out the research project, so we’re really grateful for this,” says Elin Hernebrant who is an engineer at Höganäs

The research project is structured in three stages, which essentially means that the research team will draw up a specification for bio-coal for the two main processes at Höganäs for metal powder: the sponge iron process and the atomisation process. They will then investigate the various process parameters for the production of bio-coal that meets the specifications. The third and final stage is to create a data model so that they can scale up the application more specifically in the sponge iron process. In parallel with this, Höganäs is carrying out practical trials to see how the material works on a larger scale.

Kentaro Umeki, Associate Professor at Luleå University, is project manager and is being assisted by two senior researchers and three doctoral students.

“We want to contribute to the development of a more sustainable society through our research. Höganäs is a serious, active partner that really wants to convert its production system, from the current use of large volumes of fossil coal to become fossil-free. If the climate goals are to be achieved, all companies in the steel industry must do the same. The environmental impact will be one of the most important criteria when consumers choose products, and it is extremely important for us to be able to choose products that are produced using green steel,” says Kentaro Umeki.


About the project

  • The purpose of the project is to build up knowledge in order to replace fossil reduction agents in due course with bio-based ones, which is in line with the measures highlighted in the climate road map for the iron and steel industry to achieve the goal of zero net emissions in 2045.
  • The project will start in 2019 and continue until 2022.
  • Höganäs uses anthracite coal, coke breeze, graphite and petroleum coke in its processes. From the production sites in Sweden we emit around 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents from these raw materials each year.

Find out more about Luleå University of Technology and energy technology:




Want to know more?

Please contact:
Luleå University of Technology, Kentaro Umeki, Associate Professor
+46 920 49 24 84

Höganäs AB, Ulrika Rask-Lindholm, Senior Vice President Communications
+46 42 33 84 55


Emma Lefdal
VP Corporate Communications