A renewable energy and hydrogen company, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), will build one of the world’s largest hydrogen equipment manufacturing facilities in Gladstone, Queensland.
As a result of the partnership, Gladstone would become a world leading hub for the manufacture of electrolysers – vital to the production of renewable hydrogen.
“We’re seeing growing interest globally in renewable hydrogen,” QLD premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “We don’t just want to export our resources – we want to develop a manufacturing industry capable of making the electrolysers in Queensland as well.
“Andrew Forrest and I both see Queensland’s great potential as a renewables exporter and manufacturer of hydrogen equipment. This partnership will create local jobs, support our economic recovery and create an advanced manufacturing industry in Gladstone that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the country.”
In its initial stage, the $114 million investment from Fortescue Future Industries will create 120 construction jobs and 53 operational jobs. Jobs numbers are expected to exceed 300 over the life of the project.
“We have a strategy to partner with the private sector to make Queensland a world leader in advanced manufacturing and hydrogen generation,” Palaszczuk said.
The deal is a boost for Queensland’s growing credentials as an emerging superpower in renewable hydrogen, deputy premier and minister for State Development Steven Miles said.
“We will create more jobs in Queensland by capturing industrial and manufacturing opportunities from the global decarbonisation momentum. The Palaszczuk government and FFI are both demonstrating global leadership to develop renewable hydrogen.
“FFI will now progress plans to build a facility on land developed by the Queensland government at Aldoga within the Gladstone State Development Area. FFI will construct a facility with an initial capacity to manufacture up to two gigawatts (GW) of electrolysers annually,” he said.
“Future plans are to expand both electrolyser manufacturing and other renewable energy components, which is expected to support other regional investment including in hydrogen production.”
Hydrogen electrolysers use power to split hydrogen from water. When produced using renewable power, the hydrogen is emission free.
“As GEM develops according to FFI’s own requirements and other customer needs, manufacturing will come roaring back to regional Australia, creating many thousands of jobs,” FFI chairman and founder Dr Andrew Forrest said.
“Fortescue is again ahead of the curve, and we are immensely proud to be pioneering a Green Energy Manufacturing Centre in Gladstone. This initiative is a critical step in Fortescue’s transition from a highly successful pure play iron ore producer to an even more successful green renewables and resources powerhouse.”
Manufacturing hydrogen and the equipment needed to produce it would mean Queensland would export its renewable energy, as well as its technological know-how.
“Onshoring manufacture of hydrogen industry components means enduring benefits for Queenslanders all the way through the value chain, as part of the global industrial transformation,” minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said.
“As well as exports, the products Queensland tradies will make will open up new industrial activity across the state, fuelling domestic industrial hubs and enabling the decarbonisation of sectors like heavy transport.”
The proposal is subject to land use planning and development approvals.
Queensland’s other recent hydrogen industry initiatives include the formation of a consortium. This includes generator Stanwell and Japan’s largest hydrogen supplier Iwatani, proposing to export $4.2 billion in renewable hydrogen from Gladstone, supporting 5,000 jobs.
Sumitomo Corporation has also formalised its partnership with Gladstone Ports Corporation, Gladstone Regional Council, CQUniversity Australia and Australian Gas Infrastructure Group to develop Australia’s first hydrogen ecosystem in central Queensland.
In Townsville, the Queensland government is working with Sun Metals on their immediate plans to use hydrogen in their refinery operations and trucking fleet and their ambitions to move zinc refinery operations to 100% renewable energy by 2040.
In addition to a diverse range of domestic projects that are progressing, hydrogen export facilities are also being investigated at many Queensland ports including the Port of Gladstone, Port of Townsville and Port of Hay Point, south of Mackay.