Andrew “Twiggy” Forest is Australia’s second richest person. His wealth has been accumulated from mining and other ventures. He is the major shareholder and former CEO of Fortescue Metals, which holds massive iron ore leases in the Pilbara of Western Australia. Inspired by other billionaires (like Bill and Melinda Gates), he has pledged to give away his wealth during his lifetime. To do so, so far, he has funded philanthropic foundations to wipe out modern slavery (The Global Freedom Network), encourage the employment of indigenous Australians, and grant scholarships for higher learning.
But, you are asking, how does this relate to the readers of CleanTechnica? Let me tell you about what Twiggy is up to now. Twiggy Forest has established Fortescue Future Industries. Current projects include:
- Successful combustion of ammonia to power locomotives and large marine vessels, including ore carriers.
- Design and construction of hydrogen powered mining trucks and drilling rigs.
- Successful production of green iron and green cement.
The Outback’s answer to Steve Jobs plans to make Fortescue one of the world’s biggest energy companies by using green hydrogen. Australia’s vast renewable energy resources will be tapped to create green hydrogen that will power not only Forest’s huge mining ventures but also be available for export.
Fortescue plans to build a 40 GW renewable energy hub in the Pilbara. This energy will be used to create hydrogen which will in turn be used to produce green steel. The EU and associated countries will be looking for products that are produced in a low-carbon environment. The export potential is mind boggling.
The transition to green steel will not be easy. Twiggy anticipates that as green hydrogen becomes cost effective, the fossil fuel industry will fight back by slashing prices. In a recent Australian Broadcasting Corporation lecture, he described it thus: “At the end, it will be grim – think of a knife fight in a telephone box.”
Judging by his track record so far, I think I know who will win. We have a ringside seat, pass the popcorn!