The funding would also go to the Phoenix Hydrogen project in the US and a “green iron” trial at Christmas Creek in WA.
Other projects to be fast-tracked by the Fortescue board were ones in Brazil, Kenya and Norway which the company said represented a geographical and technological diversity to establish a “glide path” for the company.
The Gibson Island green hydrogen project in Brisbane “required further work”. Fortescue said this was because Australia was struggling to shrug off its petrostate status and “still suffers structurally high green electricity costs”.
The Gibson Island ammonia project was unveiled by Fortescue’s Andrew Forrest in 2022. It planned to convert the existing Incitec plant there to a 500MW hydrogen plant.
Fortescue said the three scheme announced today were the first green hydrogen deals to reach FID in either Australia or the US.
It also had a pipeline of projects to follow “which would significantly scale up Fortescue’s global green energy production with lessons from the first three projects”.
The Gladstone project is to build a 50 megawatt scheme using Fortescue’s electrolyser technology. The first phase would be a 30MW electrolyser plant with 20MW added by 2028, conditional on water supply.
It would have the capacity to produce 22 tonnes a day or 8000 tonnes a year of green hydrogen.
It would be built next to Fortescue’s existing electrolyser plant. Construction would start next year with first production in 2025.
About $US40 million would be spent in the first year.
“The Gladstone PEM50 project in Queensland will produce hydrogen at an industrial scale, allowing us to demonstrate the high quality of Fortescue’s own hydrogen systems,” Fortescue Energy chief executive Mark Hutchison said.
“With a disciplined approach to capital allocation we continue to target double-digit project returns. This is the start of a pipeline of green energy projects we are dedicated to delivering.”
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