Fortescue begins building electrolyser factory

Fortescue Future Industries has begun construction on what is planned to be the world’s largest electrolyser manufacturing facility at Gladstone, Queensland, the first stage of a 100 hectare Green Energy Manufacturing Centre (GEM).

The GEM will be powered by green energy and become a major new pollution free green manufacturing hub, with the stage one electrolyser factory the first bricks and mortar manifestation of Andrew Forrest’s ambitions green hydrogen and ammonia vision.

The A$114 million electrolyser facility, which will be expanded as current demand indications crystalise, anchors the GEM factory footprint which includes green manufacturing technology such as cables, batteries, wind turbines and solar panels.

Dr Forrest said: “The GEM will become an epicentre for Queensland’s green hydrogen ambitions, building on Gladstone’s skilled workforce and great foresight in industrial master-planning including a world class port.

“The world is moving on from fossil fuels and the green industrial revolution is underway. Fortescue Future Industries’ game changing electrolyser facility in Gladstone is putting Queensland at the centre of this revolution, which is creating an entirely new industry and thousands of multi-generational jobs for Australians.”

The GEM will adopt world leading technology and manufacturing practices and will help transform Queensland into a green energy superpower, according to FFI.

The electrolyser facility will have an initial capacity of two gigawatts per annum – more than doubling current global production, and enough to produce more than 200,000 tonnes of green hydrogen each year.

FFI’s goal is to become the world’s leading, integrated, fully renewable energy and green products company, powering the Australian economy and creating jobs for Australians as the world transitions away from fossil fuels.

The company is targeting the production of 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year by 2030 – the equivalent to removing 60 million diesel fuel cars off the road this decade.

The first electrolysers manufactured at the facility in early 2023 are earmarked to be used in Queensland at FFI’s proposed green hydrogen to ammonia project at Gibson Island.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “As a result of this project and others like it, Gladstone will become a world leading hub for the manufacture of electrolysers – vital to the production of renewable hydrogen.

“The partnership we’ve forged with Twiggy and his team 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.

“There is no doubt that the hydrogen industry will play a key role in future employment, investment and export opportunities for Queensland.”

FFI Chief Executive Officer Julie Shuttleworth AM said the global demand for electrolysers is expected to soar as the world transitions to new energy sources.

“Fortescue Future Industries is ahead of the curve. The electrolyser facility is set to be complete by early next year and will quickly scale up to meet the growing demand for electrolysers. We plan to manufacture other renewable energy components in future expansions.” Ms Shuttleworth said.

The multi-gigawatt-scale electrolyser factory is a 50-50 joint venture, subject to approvals, between FFI and Plug Power Inc.

The construction of the GEM will create more than 100 jobs during the construction phase, up to 50 permanent jobs and several hundred indirect jobs which will support the local supply chain.

The further stages of FFI’s GEM will be delivered in specialist production lines according to the requirements of FFI and its customers, and could include the manufacture of wind turbines, high-voltage electric cabling, solar photovoltaic cells, modules and arrays, and associated renewable energy infrastructure.

Picture: Fortescue Future Industries

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