PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Iron-ore major Fortescue Metals has formed a partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to develop and commercialise hydrogen technology.
The A$20-million collaboration agreement includes a five-year agreement to fund and support select CSIRO technologies in the hydrogen space, with the first of the agreements to focus on the CSIRO’s metal membrane technology, which will make the transportation of hydrogen economically viable, enabling the benefits of the low emission fuel to be realised.
“We are at the beginning of an energy revolution and Fortescue intends to be at the forefront of this once in a generation opportunity,” said Fortescue chairperson Andrew Forrest.
“As a proud Australian company, we are excited to partner with CSIRO, our nation’s preeminent science and research body, to unlock the potential of hydrogen, the low emission fuel of the future.”
Forrest said that by combining the CSIRO’s global leading research and development capabilities with Fortescue’s ability to rapidly develop new technologies, the parties would firmly establish their position in the global hydrogen industry.
CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall said that the CSIRO had a strong history of collaboration with industry, not just helping existing industries reinvent themselves through global disruption, but actually inventing entirely new industries like hydrogen where Australia can take the lead.
“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.
“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,” Marshall said.
CSIRO will work with Fortescue to identify, develop and commercialise technologies to support the creation of an Australian hydrogen industry and future global uptake.
Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan has previously said that given Australia’s existing infrastructure and expertise in hydrogen, as well as established emerging projects in every state and territory, Australia had a natural advantage in hydrogen production.
“Hydrogen is versatile - it can be stored and transported relatively easily, and it offers the potential for using fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage and renewable resources, in which we have a particular advantage.
“As a nation, we are also blessed to have the know-how and drive to develop hydrogen energy export supply chains as well as some of the world’s best scientists conducting cutting edge research into energy,” Canavan said.
Earlier this year, the federal government invested A$50 million in the world-first Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain pilot project in Victoria in partnership with the Japanese and Victorian governments and Japanese industry.
“It is one of only a few global projects proving supply chain logistics from end to end; in this case, from gasification of brown coal to liquefied hydrogen delivered to Japan,” the Minister said.
“I have no doubt this will help pave the way for investment in a new commercial-scale low-carbon hydrogen export industry from the mid-2020s, diversifying our domestic energy and export sectors.”