FFI ‘on track’ for green hydrogen plans

Hydrogen Sector 22.03.22
Written by: HYCAP

One year on from announcing a target of producing 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen a year by 2030, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) says it’s on track.

In an interview for RenewEconomy’s Energy Insiders podcast, chief executive Julie Shuttleworth says it is ‘looking very achievable’.

“It is absolutely possible, but it still needs a massive effort. Of course, no one has done this at this scale before,” she adds.

The technology has been proved in principle. Late last year, the company announced that it had designed and built its own electrolyser in its Western Australia facility, producing industrial grade hydrogen.

“The team spent thousands of hours on this project, facing setbacks along the way, but they pushed forward and managed to produce hydrogen before their stretch target date,” commented chairman Dr Andrew Forrest.

Wind turbines in the morning mist in Western Australia.

“This is not the first time FFI’s team of experts have beaten their stretch targets. Earlier this year, FFI retrofitted a huge mining haul truck to run on hydrogen, producing only steam, in just 130 days.”

Solar panels going into the company’s Dawson Road facility will mean the electrolyser will be able to produce green hydrogen by the end of this year. And the company’s also working on a number of other power generation projects, including wind and solar plus battery.

The 15 million-tonne production target is startlingly ambitious, given that the current worldwide figure is less than a million tonnes.

But according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) 80 million tonnes will be required by 2030 for the world to be on track to net zero emissions by 2050.

And in its Global Hydrogen Review 2021, the IEA says low-carbon and zero-carbon hydrogen are about to see significant cost declines and widespread global growth.

FFI’s strategy is to move fast, through acquisitions, technology development and partnerships.

Solar panels like these pictured will be going into the FFI’s Dawson Road facility and will mean the electrolyser will be able to produce green hydrogen by the end of this year.

It’s signing deals for green hydrogen production facilities at a dizzying pace, in countries including Indonesia, Canada, PNG, Jordan, India and Brazil.

And it’s planning to produce electrolysers at scale by next year, when its new global green energy manufacturing (GEM) centre in Gladstone, Queensland, comes online.

Building up to 2GW of electrolysers per year, this is expected to be the largest electrolyser factory in the world, but will also manufacture other vital components, such as solar panels, wind towers, battery storage and cabling.

And the strategy is pulling in customers. FFI recently signed a deal with JCB and Ryze Hydrogen to take a significant percentage of its green hydrogen output, for example – making the partnership the UK’s largest supplier.

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