Iron ore company Fortescue Metals is a step closer to transporting workers in the Pilbara with hydrogen fuelled buses, after securing a deal with gas supplier BOC to install renewable hydrogen production and bus re-fuelling facilities at the company’s Christmas Creek iron ore mine.
BOC will install renewable-powered electrolyers and a hydrogen refuelling station at the Christmas Creek site, which will allow Fortescue to replace its fleet of diesel fuelled buses that are used to transport mine workers each day with green hydrogen fuelled alternatives.
Under the arrangement, BOC will supply Fortescue with two 700 kilowatt electrolysers produced by British firm ITM, that will be used to supply renewable hydrogen on site, and will be supplied with power from the 60MW Chichester solar farm being constructed nearby.
The electrolysers are expected to have the capacity o produce up to 180 kilograms of hydrogen each day, enough to supply up to 10 hydrogen-fuelled coaches that transport around 3,000 mine workers to-and-from Fortescue’s operations at the Christmas Creek mine on a daily basis.
“BOC is proud to be the chosen partner in this exciting project that will demonstrate how renewable hydrogen can be used as a fuel for heavy vehicles in remote environments,” BOC South Pacific managing director John Evans said.
“Mining is a 24/7 operation which, together with the remoteness of the site means that reliability is essential. BOC provided a solution that recognised the criticality of the application and we collaborated with Fortescue to design an application to protect the electrolyser and re-fueller from the environment in the Pilbara region.
The investment in hydrogen transport by Fortescue forms part of its efforts to achieve net zero emissions from its operations by 2040, including a $32 million investment in the hydrogen transport project, which has been supported through funding provided by the Western Australian government’s Renewable Hydrogen Strategy.
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