Recent announcements from Twiggy Forrest, chairman and founder of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), about the trillions of dollars to be made with green hydrogen and the way forward to decarbonise heavy industry and transport have been met with scepticism from both his shareholders and the general public. My thoughts are that if the man is putting out the money, then he must think he has something. Time will tell (and fairly quickly too with the speed with which Twiggy is moving). Is it a bet-the-company moment for FMG?
Forrest says that demand for green hydrogen was “coming from everywhere.” Certainly, with recent profits of US$10.3 billion for 2020/21 and revenue of US$22.3 billion, he has some money to make his vision into reality. Not just in Australia bit also in Argentina, where he has plans to invest $8 billion to turn Río Negro into a global green hydrogen export hub by 2030 powered by wind.
Thank you fossil fuel execs, but the party is over. 🤷♂️ #GreenHydrogen is the zero-carbon fuel of the future. There’s a fortune to be made, and we’re in. Are you? #COP26 #ThePowerOfNow pic.twitter.com/gJ7LhvLRj8
— Fortescue Future Industries (@FortescueFuture) November 10, 2021
He insists that his “green” hydrogen will be truly green, made from water using only renewable energy. The question will be how to get that much energy at a low enough cost to make this hydrogen competitive. At the recent annual general meeting for FMG, Forrest spoke to shareholders from the Glasgow COP26 climate talks about the seemingly limitless potential for the “miracle molecule” to transform the hardest-to-decarbonise, biggest industrial sectors such as power generation, rail, shipping, trucking, and even aviation. Some of those sectors are more widely expected to be good markets for hydrogen than others (see here, here, here, and here, for example), but no serious analysts/experts are saying there will be no market for green hydrogen.
Putting his (considerable amount of) money where his mouth is, Twiggy has promised to covert his shipping fleet of 100 vessels to run on green ammonia, with the first to be on the water by the end of next year. The initial trial will be a small vessel, but “this is just the first,” Forrest said. “We have about 100 ships on the water, and we’ll be converting all our own ships over to green ammonia at the earliest possible opportunity, well within this decade.”
This is great news in a country which has the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world.
Source: Bloomberg, RenewEconomy, RenewEconomy, Mining.com
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