PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Green energy developer Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and ASX-listed Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) have completed initial studies to convert IPL’s Gibson Island ammonia-production facility to run on zero carbon green hydrogen, instead of fossil fuel gas.
The Gibson Island plant currently uses natural gas as a feedstock to produce ammonia. In October, IPL and FFI announced a partnership to investigate the feasibility of replacing gas with renewable hydrogen to produce industrial scale green ammonia.
Based on the first phase of studies, FFI have found the project is technically feasible and issued IPL with a notice to proceed to the next phase. This is the next step in FFI being able to demonstrate that fossil fuel infrastructure conversion is both technically and economically feasible.
FFI and IPL will now enter negotiations for an agreement to progress this project to a front end engineering design (FEED) study to refine cost, schedule, permitting and commercial agreements, and inform a potential final investment decision.
The FEED study is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
FFI founder and chairperson Dr Andrew Forrest said this is a significant development in this important project that will accelerate decarbonisation while also protecting local jobs in Queensland.
“The announcement of this important agreement at the IPL site in Brisbane in October was a significant milestone and I am delighted that we are now ready to confirm that we are moving to the next phase of studies to make this dream a reality,” he said.
FFI CEO Julie Shuttleworth said FFI’s collaboration with Incitec Pivot is an exciting opportunity to harness existing infrastructure at Gibson Island, fast tracking the production of green ammonia at an industrial scale.
“Pending further approvals, this project could be Australia’s first green ammonia production facility, demonstrating existing infrastructure can be retrofitted to utilise zero-emissions energy sources,” Shuttleworth said.
FFI plans to construct an on-site electrolysis plant, which could produce up to 50, 000 /y of renewable, green hydrogen for conversion into green ammonia, replacing the current fossil fuel gas feedstock.
The project, if successful, will safeguard manufacturing jobs in Queensland, and create a new domestic and export market for green, renewable ammonia. Green hydrogen and green ammonia from the project could also provide a low-carbon fuel supply to the Port of Brisbane, Brisbane airport and other heavy transport users.
IPL MD and CEO Jeanne Johns said the company was committed to pursuing opportunities to help create a more sustainable world and its investigation of new and emerging technologies, such as green ammonia, is a key part of this.
“Our world class ammonia expertise is advancing progress of this exciting project and, working with FFI, we have found it is technically feasible to manufacture green ammonia at an industrial scale at Gibson Island. As an existing brownfield site, this offers many advantages,” Johns said.
The proposed project aligns with the Queensland and Commonwealth governments’ strategy to develop an innovative and competitive green hydrogen industry that delivers reliable domestic supply and new export opportunities.