Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue future Industries has unveiled yet another major renewable hydrogen project, this time a proposed 50,000 tonne a year green hydrogen and ammonia facility near Brisbane, which promises to be the first of its scale in Australia.
The plan was announced jointly with fertiliser supplier Incitec Pivot, which currently uses natural gas as a feedstock at its Gibson Island facility near Brisbane, but is now looking to build an on-site electrolysis plant.
FFI and Incitec say the switch to renewables, if successful, will safeguard several hundred manufacturing jobs in Queensland that are under threat from soaring gas prices, and the demand for low carbon products.
They say that the green ammonia could also provide a low-carbon fuel supply to the Port of Brisbane and Brisbane airport.
The announcement comes one day after Forrest announced plans for a massive green energy manufacturing centre near Gladstone, in central Queensland, that could build hydrogen electrolysers and expand into wind turbines, solar PV cells, and cabling.
It also comes after FFI announced late last week an investment in Dutch solar PV and hydrogen technology provider HyET that could result in a 1GW solar PV manufacturing plant being built in Australia.
Forrest’s plans for a green hydrogen revolution are bold – 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year by 2030, rising to 50 million tonnes in the decade thereafter – and the new announcements are now starting to put meat on those plans, although it has still not revealed where the vast resources of wind and solar power will be sourced.
“FFI’s plan is to turn regional Australia into the global green energy heart,” Forrest said in a statement.
“This project will create Australia’s first green ammonia industry and will enable the decarbonisation of some of the hardest-to-decarbonise parts of industry, like cargo ships and iron ore bulk carriers.
“Not only will this create more jobs, but it will prove that existing infrastructure can be retrofitted to generate a zero-emissions energy source.”
Incitec Pivot managing director Jeanne Johns said the project could sustain highly skilled manufacturing jobs at Gibson Island and allow the company to leverage its existing capabilities and assets to create a “thriving renewable hydrogen ecosystem in Australia in the near term.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said momentum was building in Queensland’s quest to becoming a renewable hydrogen superpower.
“Yesterday we announced we’re building the world’s largest electrolyser manufacturing plant in Central Queensland which is crucial for making hydrogen,” the said.
“Today Fortescue Future Industries and Incitec Pivot have committed to a joint feasibility study into conducting a green hydrogen and green ammonia production and export facility right here at Gibson Island.
“By backing Queensland to become a renewable energy and hydrogen superpower we will make Queensland a manufacturing superpower as well which will create and sustain jobs long into the future.
“We are seeing an industrial green revolution taking place in Queensland, and it will happen in Australia and throughout the world.”