Fortescue Metals, led by Andrew Forrest, has manually produced its first “home-grown” hydrogen electrolysers at its Gladstone “gigafactory.” These 1MW PEM electrolysers, to be automated soon, mark a pivotal development for Fortescue’s participation in the Australian federal government’s $2 billion Hydrogen Head-start program.
Mark Hutchinson, CEO of the Fortescue Energy division, unveiled this achievement and emphasized its importance in their Hydrogen Head-start program application. The company aims to leverage its locally manufactured electrolysers as a key component of this application. They are actively working on several project proposals as part of their green hydrogen ambitions.
The PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) technology Fortescue is producing is rooted in innovations from Fortescue Inoix, a US-based firm established following the acquisition of Xergy Inc and Xergy One in 2022.
Hutchinson shared that the electrolysers have recently undergone quality tests conducted by TUV Rheinland, confirming their density, durability, and efficiency. Fortescue, however, is not solely reliant on in-house technology. They have secured electrolyser supply deals with other manufacturers, including an equity investment and 1GW off-take deal with Electric Hydrogen (EH2) and a 550MW supply agreement with Plug Power.
Hutchinson clarified that while they have these external deals, they will reserve their technology for their Hydrogen Head-start program. Fortescue is actively involved in at least five major green hydrogen projects globally and aims to secure financial approval for most of them by the year’s end. Their most advanced project is Gibson Island in Queensland, where they plan to establish a 550MW electrolyser capacity for green hydrogen and ammonia production.
The company has also signed a significant off-take agreement with Genex Power, supporting a potential massive solar project in Queensland. This solar power will be used at Gibson Island. Fortescue recently acquired the Phoenix Hydrogen Hub in the United States, highlighting the company’s global reach and ambitions in the green hydrogen sector.
Hutchinson emphasized that different projects will utilize different electrolyser technologies based on geographical and technological requirements. While some projects will rely on PEM technology, others will utilize alkaline technology.
He compared the current state of the green hydrogen industry to the early days of wind and solar technology, where innovations and refinements led to significant scale and efficiency improvements over time. Fortescue is committed to achieving “real” zero emissions by 2030, which necessitates the removal of fossil fuels from all its operations, including massive iron ore mines in the Pilbara. This transition involves using green power for operations, including hydrogen-fueled haul trucks and green ammonia for trains.
As the green hydrogen industry continues to evolve and expand, power prices and government incentives will play crucial roles in realizing the vision of a sustainable and green energy future.
Australia’s Green Hydrogen Ascent: The Central Queensland Game-Changer
Australia is embarking on a green energy revolution with a $138 million investment in the 2.2GW Central Queensland Hydrogen Hub (CQ-H2), representing the country’s most extensive green hydrogen project. The project, led by the Stanwell Corporation in collaboration with the federal government, is set to reshape Australia’s energy landscape.
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen described the project as a pivotal step toward achieving net-zero emissions and reducing carbon footprint in challenging sectors. Green hydrogen, produced through renewable means, will play a vital role in hard-to-abate industries, including the manufacturing of green metals, offering sustainable solutions the world demands.
Central Queensland, renowned for its contributions to the energy sector over decades, is now poised to transition to new-age industries such as hydrogen as global markets evolve. The project’s components include a hydrogen electrolyser, pipeline infrastructure, and underground hydrogen storage facilities. It will also establish vital connections to the region’s solar farms, creating a comprehensive, interconnected energy ecosystem.
With construction scheduled to commence early next year, the project is expected to be operational by mid-2027. However, its development will be staged, ensuring a gradual, yet impactful transition to green hydrogen. The initial phase will involve the installation of up to 640MW of electrolysers, capable of producing 200 tonnes of green hydrogen daily by 2028. As the project scales up, it’s projected to produce an impressive 292,000 tonnes of hydrogen annually, equating to 800 tonnes per day by 2031.
This abundant green hydrogen will undergo further processing, with options including liquefaction or conversion into ammonia. These processed hydrogen products are destined for international markets in countries like Japan, China, Korea, and Singapore, where the demand for clean energy is escalating.
Experts in the energy sector anticipate that hydrogen will revolutionize various industries. Notably, it will play a crucial role in sectors like steel manufacturing and fertilizer production, where electrification or battery power may not be feasible.
Furthermore, hydrogen is becoming an attractive option for long-haul aviation and shipping, addressing the unique challenges faced in these transportation sectors. Its potential as a clean, efficient, and versatile energy carrier is quickly garnering global attention.
As Australia positions itself at the forefront of the green hydrogen revolution, the CQ-H2 project represents a significant stride toward a sustainable and green energy future.
Tasmania’s Green Hydrogen $8M Price Reduction Scheme Unveiled
Tasmania is on the brink of a green energy transformation with the announcement of the $8 million Green Hydrogen Price Reduction scheme by the Rockliff Liberal Government. This innovative scheme has two primary objectives: to establish a thriving local green hydrogen industry and stimulate demand for this clean energy source.
Minister for Energy and Renewables, Nick Duigan, unveiled this groundbreaking initiative aimed at not only driving supply but also fostering a significant demand for locally produced green hydrogen. This scheme promises to make green hydrogen more competitive when compared to traditional fossil fuels, offering an eco-friendly alternative.
Minister Duigan emphasized the scheme’s potential to encourage industries to shift from fossil fuels to Tasmanian green hydrogen for their energy and fuel requirements. By setting a competitive sale price, this initiative takes a crucial step toward achieving stability for end-users and market growth.
Tasmania’s green hydrogen industry is expected to create job opportunities and stimulate economic growth, aligning with the Rockliff Liberal Government’s long-term plan to build a sustainable and thriving economy. To make this scheme even more attractive, eligible projects will receive funding based on the quantity of green hydrogen sold to end-users. It encourages local production and targets a 2025 launch, with all hydrogen produced to be sold within the region.
Minister Duigan underlined the importance of establishing a local market for renewable hydrogen. This local demand plays a pivotal role in building a sustainable renewable hydrogen industry within Tasmania. Furthermore, this scheme works in tandem with the government’s $300 million commitment to create open-access infrastructure supporting export-scale green hydrogen production at the Tasmanian Green Hydrogen Hub in Bell Bay. Applications for the Green Hydrogen Price Reduction scheme officially opened today and are set to close at 2 pm on December 6, 2023.
Tasmania is well on its way to becoming a leader in green hydrogen production. With the Rockliff Liberal Government’s bold initiatives, the state is spearheading a renewable energy revolution that will have far-reaching economic, environmental, and industrial impacts.
Acciona and Stanwell’s Eneter Green Energy Pact
Acciona Energía, the Spanish energy company, has joined hands with Stanwell Corporation, Queensland’s state-owned electricity company, in a groundbreaking 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). This renewable energy collaboration holds the promise of transforming Queensland’s energy landscape, utilizing the abundant solar resources of the region.
The heart of this agreement revolves around the supply of renewable electricity generated by the Aldoga photovoltaic plant, a colossal 380 MW installation, strategically situated 20 kilometers northwest of Gladstone on Queensland’s central coast. Notably, Acciona Energía had previously disclosed plans to extend the Aldoga photovoltaic project’s capacity to an impressive 600 MWp by 2021.
Stanwell Corporation is set to harness the electricity generated by Aldoga for a pioneering endeavor known as Central Queensland Hydrogen (CQ-H2). This ambitious green hydrogen project is scheduled for commercial operation in 2028 and aims to deliver a staggering 3 GW of green hydrogen.
The CQ-H2 project unfolds as a comprehensive energy ecosystem. Its key components encompass a hydrogen production facility at Aldoga, proximity to Gladstone, the development of a gas pipeline, the provision of hydrogen to an ammonia production facility, and the creation of a hydrogen liquefaction facility, alongside ship loading facilities at Gladstone Port. The vision is to export renewable hydrogen to global destinations like Japan and Singapore, all while serving the substantial energy needs of local industries in Central Queensland. These vital operations are set to commence from 2028.
The project’s preliminary engineering design (FEED) is already underway, supported by a substantial financial commitment of 117 million Australian dollars, approximately 70 million euros, from the government and a consortium of esteemed partners. This consortium comprises Iwatani Corporation, Kansai Electric Power Company, Marubeni, Keppel Infrastructure, and Stanwell Corporation.
This initiative signifies a bold step toward a sustainable, green energy future for Queensland. It not only underscores the region’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions but also reflects the growing importance of green hydrogen in the global energy landscape.
As the world increasingly pivots towards cleaner, sustainable energy solutions, Acciona Energía and Stanwell’s partnership highlights how collaboration between international expertise and local innovation can drive meaningful change. This venture promises to catapult Queensland into a renewable energy powerhouse, a region where sunshine and innovation meet to shape a cleaner and brighter future.