Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) today announced its proposed electrolyser gigafab at Gladstone had already gained planning approval from the Queensland government in five speedy weeks. The factory, once built, will be the world’s largest with an initial capacity capable of manufacturing up to 2 GW of electrolysers annually.
Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, FFI’s chairman, said he expects the Global Green Energy (GEM) manufacturing centre, as it’s called, to enter production of its first electrolysers in 2023. The plant, which is expected to require a $114 million investment initially, will use U.S. company Plug Power’s electrolyser and fuel cell technology as part of a joint venture the two companies announced last month.
“Receiving planning approval from the state government brings this project even closer to fruition, as we work towards commencing construction on the first stage in February 2022,” FFI’s CEO Julie Shuttleworth said.
Gladstone, located on Queensland’s midcoast, is seeking to become a major hydrogen hub, with Queensland’s Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Steven Miles, saying FFI’s factory will boost these growing credentials. “It will be the first facility in Australia able to make the multi-gigawatt-scale electrolysers used worldwide in hydrogen production,” Miles said.
“The facility will be constructed within a four-hectare site with an electrolyser assembly building to cover approximately 12,900 square metres,” he added.
The Gladstone Global Green Energy factory sits alongside FFI’s plan to also built a 1 GW solar PV module manufacturing plant, though the intended location of that facility is not yet clear. That plan, also revealed in October, followed FFI’s purchase of a 60% stake in Netherlands-based renewable energy specialists High yield Energy Technologies Group.
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