Green industrial project funding - momentum building?

Green industrial project funding - momentum building?

Decarbonising industry is key, with hydrogen playing a big part. What to watch out for.

Summary: Encouraging to see US$750 million investments committed to three green projects (two green hydrogen and one green iron) from Australian green technology company, Fortescue. It suggests that momentum continues to build in the transition to greener industrial processes. We found this interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly the obvious one: solid investment in new green industrial infrastructure projects with relatively near term goals potentially catalysing further investment. However this is not without concerns. We shall take a look at some of those in this blog. Are these projects as green as they appear? Do the costs and economics stack up? What about impact on scarce resources, in particular water?

Why this is important: as the sustainability transitions progress driven by political and economic incentives that we don't lose sight of the end goal too.

The big theme: Heavy industry is responsible for approximately 20% of global CO₂ emissions. There are a number of areas that can be addressed from the feedstock for chemical plants to the energy requirement for heat and pressure to the reductants (chemical reducing agents).



Fortescue reaches FID on three green projects.

Australian green technology, energy and metals company Fortescue announced it has progressed three green hydrogen projects to a final investment decision (FID) - i.e. they are going ahead ahead with the investment - in the US and Australia with a total investment of US$750 million over three years.

The three projects are:

  • Phoenix Hydrogen Hub: this represents the bulk of the investment at US$550 million and will comprise an 11,000 tonne annual production capacity liquid green hydrogen plant based in Arizona, USA, expected to begin production in 2026. About half of the investment is expected to be on equipment and half on construction of the site.
  • Gladstone PEM50 Project: this is a green hydrogen production project under construction in Queensland, Australia with a production capacity of 8,000 tonnes annually. The initial 30MW electrolyser plant (using Fortescue's own proprietary Proton Exchange Membrane or PEM technology) is expected to be operational in 2025 with a remaining 20MW to take it up to full production capacity by 2028. This project takes US$150 million of the investment.
  • Christmas Creek Green Iron Trial Commercial Plant: the remaining US$50 million investment is allocated to this green iron plant which processes iron ores to produce iron without using fossil fuels and instead using existing green hydrogen and solar generated electricity. Production capacity is expected to exceed 1,500 tonnes annually with first production in 2025.

We found this interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly the obvious one: solid investment in new green industrial infrastructure projects with relatively near term goals potentially catalysing further investment.

However this is not without concerns. We shall take a look at some of those in this blog. Are these projects as green as they appear? Do the costs and economics stack up? What about impact on scarce resources, in particular water?

But let's start with the positive. Momentum building in the transition to a greener industrial sector.


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