Fortescue Future Industries to build 2 GW hydrogen electrolyzer plant in central Queensland – pv magazine Australia


Founder of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) and more recently of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), Dr Andrew Forrest announced yesterday jointly with Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk in the Port of Gladstone that FFI will build the world’s largest infrastructure. green energy and equipment manufacturing plant in central Queensland.

FFI will invest $ 115 million in the first stage of a more than $ 1 billion operation that will double the world’s green hydrogen production capacity.

With the first electrolysers coming off the production line by 2023, it will soon produce 2 GW of electrolyser capacity per year.

Forrest constantly communicates the urgency to increase the production of green energy: “We will not allow the world to continue cooking – we will not allow our children to inherit a much less stable environment,” he said. he declared Sunday with a fervor now familiar.

A wave of FFI announcements in favor of green hydrogen

Just two weeks ago, Forrest formed a global green hydrogen organization, GH2, chaired by former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with the aim of ensuring that by 2050, a quarter of the world’s energy comes from green hydrogen.

FFI itself aims to produce 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year by 2030, much of which intends to integrate into heavy industry production processes, such as steelmaking, to replace l use of fossil fuels.

As recently as last week, the billionaire known as “Twiggy” and Julie Shuttleworth, managing director of FFI – a subsidiary of FMG – announced that FFI had acquired a controlling stake in the Dutch company. High Efficiency Energy Technologies Group (HyET), which counts among its assets the manufacturer of photovoltaic solar modules HyET Solar.

FFI’s plans to expand the group’s solar manufacturing capacity include a 1 GW manufacturing facility in Australia producing flexible HyET lightweight Powerfoil solar modules for large-scale solar farms and building-integrated photovoltaic applications.

FFI will also support HyET’s intention to increase production to 900 MW in the Netherlands

By manufacturing the flexible solar modules and large-scale electrolysers, FFI aims to reduce the cost of both products and accelerate the delivery of affordable green energy to the world.

Reduce the cost of hydrogen through scale

The current cost of electrolyzers is a factor that keeps the price of producing green hydrogen above that of hydrogen produced from natural gas.

Electrolysers divide water into its molecules of hydrogen and oxygen; when powered by renewable energies such as solar and wind power, they produce emission-free hydrogen that can be used to steer otherwise difficult-to-cut industrial processes away from fossil fuels.

The cheap hydrogen, produced by excess renewable electricity, justifies further transformation into ammonia or compression for export.

The International Energy Agency has identified global electrolyzer manufacturing capacity shortages, which it calculated at 3 GW per year in 2020, as a threat to the many green hydrogen projects in the global pipeline.

Last year, Europe dominated global capacity with around 60% of electrolyser output, and China controlled roughly the rest, with 35%.

Queensland, the natural homeland of green hydrogen

FFI’s goal is to become the integrated and fully renewable global leader in energy and green products, fueling the Australian economy and creating jobs for Australia as we move away from fossil fuels,Said Shuttleworth.

Forrest added that the Queensland facility “Is a critical step in Fortescue’s transition from a very successful and highly successful pure iron ore producer to an even more successful renewable energy and green resource powerhouse. “

The Queensland plant, to Being built in Aldoga, 25 kilometers west of Gladstone, will manufacture not only electrolysers, but also cables and wind turbines to boost the production of green hydrogen for global markets.

Artist’s impression of Fortescue Future Industries’ green energy infrastructure plant, ready to produce its first electrolysers for export and domestic applications in 2023.

Image: Fortescue Future Industries

Forrest said that in the past 15 months he had researched 62 countries to decide on the best location to produce his envisioned complete hydrogen kit, and found: “Queensland has the beautiful combination of wind power. and solar and you have a hardworking and educated people, he said at yesterday’s event. He also praised the Queensland government for already leading the state “to a green future of” hydrogen ”.

The industrial port of Gladstone is well placed to market Australian-made electrolysers to the world. Palaszczuk highlighted its proximity to Asia and Queensland’s already good trade relations with Asian economies.

In 2019, Queensland exported its first shipment of green hydrogen in Japan in a trial conducted jointly by the Queensland University of Technology and JXTG, a Japanese oil conglomerate.

Queensland has since announced several hydrogen projects on his sunny lawn, but nothing like it.

FFI’s manufacturing plant is expected to directly create some 150 jobs during construction and 53 ongoing jobs when operational, but Forrest said the ripple effects of the impending production of affordable green hydrogen will bring manufacturing back “ back to regional Australia ”, creating thousands of jobs.

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