Fortescue sets new carbon target, expects hydrogen business to grow

15th March 2021

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – Iron-ore major Fortescue Metals has unveiled plans to be carbon neutral by 2030, ten years earlier than its previous target of 2040, while noting that its ‘green energy’ business could outpace its iron-ore play.

Fortescue chairperson Andrew Forrest on Monday said that Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) would be a key enabler of this target through the development of green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in Australia.

“We have joined the global battle to defeat climate change. We are trialling and demonstrating green hydrogen technologies in global-scale commercial environments, while also rapidly evolving into a green hydrogen and electricity producer of similar scale.”

“Our commitment to demonstrate green hydrogen’s economic value in world-scale operations, and become a major energy exporter, while implementing the considerable facilities to support both, means that Fortescue has emerged not simply as a thought-leader and investor, but uniquely as an executor of major green hydrogen projects,” Forrest said.

“Our aim is to provide the two 'missing links' in the climate change battle, to create both the demand and the supply of green hydrogen. Due to its high energy performance and environmental neutrality, green hydrogen and direct green electricity has the potential to eliminate fossil fuels from supply chains. Once established, these advances will also substantially reduce Fortescue’s operating costs.”

“Fortescue’s strong focus on green energy and our carbon neutrality targets will sit alongside our continuing excellence in, and commitment to, our iron-ore business.

“While our green energy and industry initiatives may one day significantly outscale our iron-ore business due to the global demand for renewable energy, our commitment to iron-ore and resources globally remains indefeasible,” said Forrest.

Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines said the company had a proud history of setting ambitious stretch targets, adding that detailed planning was under way and projects had been identified to support its operational emissions reduction goals.

“We are working towards decarbonising our entire mobile fleet and fixed plant through the next phase of hydrogen and battery electric energy solutions.”

She noted that Fortescue was seeking to move from being a major consumer of fossil fuel, with a current trajectory of more than one-billion litres a year of diesel being used across the operations if no remedial action is taken, to a major clean and renewable energy exporter.

FFI is advancing projects across Australia including Tasmania, to build large-scale renewable energy and green hydrogen production capacity. This will expedite the substitution of green hydrogen and green ammonia for carbon-based fuels. These projects will, with the support of Australia’s governments, contribute to a significant reduction in national carbon emissions.

Through FFI, Fortescue is undertaking to deliver several key projects by the stretch target of June 30 this year. This will underpin its pathway to decarbonisation.

These projects include developing a ship design powered by green ammonia and trialling that design in new ammonia engine technology at scale, testing large battery technology in our haul trucks, trialling hydrogen fuel cell power for our drill rigs, and trialling technology on our locomotives to run on green ammonia.

The company would also conduct trials to use renewable energy in the Pilbara to convert iron-ore to green iron at low temperatures, without coal.

“Each of these projects will contribute to the world’s inexorable march to carbon neutrality. Fortescue will establish that the major steel, truck, train, ship and mobile plant industries can be operated with renewable, environmentally friendly energy,” Gaines said.

“This will be possible as a result of these ground-breaking Fortescue trials. Each will be tested by Fortescue using commercial-scale equipment to prove that the demand for direct green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia could one day be as large as the fossil fuel industry.

“These projects are in addition to Fortescue’s significant investment with our partners into energy infrastructure, including the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project and Pilbara Energy Connect programme,” she added.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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