Fortescue plans massive hydrogen electrolyser in Brisbane

Plans are underway to build one of the world’s largest renewable-energy-powered electrolysers in Queensland. The proposed 500 MW plant on Brisbane’s Gibson Island would be capable of producing 70,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen each year.

Gibson Island is already home to an ammonia plant, which uses hydrogen as a key ingredient in its production. The study will examine the development of the electrolyser and potential integration into the ammonia plant.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing a grant of $13.7 million towards a $38 million front-end engineering and design study. The funding will go to Fortescue Future Industries Pty Ltd (FFI) in consortium with Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) to support the FEED study.

If built, the Gibson Island facility would also be the world’s first fully decarbonised renewable ammonia plant.

Ammonia has many uses, including as a feedstock in the production of nitrogen fertilisers for farming. But making ammonia releases around 500 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

However, if renewable hydrogen is fed into an ammonia plant, itself powered by renewable energy, the result is emissions-free ammonia. And, potentially, 500 million fewer tonnes of carbon emissions.

Renewable ammonia has massive potential as a valuable export resource for Australia.

[Photo: Gibson Island; ARENA]

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