Fortescue and CSIRO team up to develop hydrogen industry potential

CSIRO’s metal membrane technology for hydrogen storage. Source: CSIRO.

A new partnership between CSIRO and Fortescue Metals Group has been established to further develop the possibilities for the emerging hydrogen industry in Australia.

The $20 million partnership between Fortescue and CSIRO includes a five-year agreement to fund and support select CSIRO technologies in the hydrogen space.

The first of the agreements will focus on CSIRO’s metal membrane technology, which enables ammonia to be used as a carrier material for hydrogen storage and transport, will make the transportation of hydrogen economically viable, enabling the benefits of the low emission fuel to be realised.

Fortescue chairman, Andrew Forrest, said that his company was excited to partner with CSIRO to unlock the potential of the hydrogen industry in Australia.

“By combining CSIRO’s global leading research and development with Fortescue’s capability to rapidly develop new technologies, we will firmly establish our position in the global hydrogen industry,” Forrest said.

“Importantly, we see potential for a significant export market in hydrogen and look forward to collaborating with third parties to ensure Australia’s leadership in the new energy economy.”

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said the partnership furthered the CSIRO’s strong history of collaboration with industry.

“Today we’re seeing a ‘market pull’ from companies like Fortescue to reinvent themselves through deep science-driven innovation and follow the global market shift towards a low-emissions energy future, and in so doing create a whole new export market for our vast clean energy resources,” Marshall said.

“This partnership is great news for Australia, not just through new industry creation and the jobs that will flow from it, but in contributing to a different energy future that is secure, affordable, and sustainable.”

CSIRO will continue its own investment in hydrogen research and development, chiefly through its Hydrogen Energy Systems Future Science Platform (FSP), and will work with Fortescue to commercialise technologies that support new energy markets, including in the chemicals and transportation sectors.

Federal industry, science and technology minister, Karen Andrews, said the partnership would create more Australian jobs and new industries, as well as opening up export opportunities.

“This partnership centres on an investment in CSIRO’s metal membrane technology, which solves the problem of hydrogen transportation and is another example of the strong ideas coming out of CSIRO,” Andrews said.