Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has added to its global portfolio of renewable energy projects, acquiring the Phoenix Hydrogen Hub (PHH) development from an affiliate of Arizona-based zero-emissions vehicle manufacturer and clean energy company Nikola.
FFI, the clean energy arm of Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group, said the PHH being developed on a 370-hectare site at Buckeye, near Phoenix, is expected to be built in stages with first production of green hydrogen from the facility expected by 2024.
Stage one of the project is planned to include an 80 MW electrolyser and liquefaction facility capable of producing up to 12,000 tonnes of liquified green hydrogen annually. It is expected production would scale up to approximately 55,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per annum and beyond with the project having room to expand as the demand for clean hydrogen grows.
“The PHH project is currently going through the final stages of its permitting process, and the procurement of long-lead equipment is well underway,” FFI said in a statement.
“It is anticipated the project will go to the Fortescue board for a final Investment decision this year.”
The acquisition is the first major move in the U.S. by FFI since the introduction of the country’s $544 billion (USD 369 billion) Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which offers subsidies, grants and tax breaks to encourage investment in renewable energy and climate change measures.
FFI Chief Executive Officer Mark Hutchinson said the company is looking to build its presence in the U.S. with the incentives in the IRA make it one of the best markets in the world to invest in green energy.
“FFI is actively expanding its U.S. presence and strengthening its position as a leading global developer of green energy production and technology,” he said.
“The U.S. is now one of the best places in the world to do this, with the Inflation Reduction Act making it an ideal place to invest in green energy.”
“This investment by FFI will greatly strengthen one of the country’s first and most important hydrogen ecosystems and it is a significant milestone in creating the all-important local connective infrastructure to accelerate the use of green hydrogen.”
The PHH transaction comes after FFI and Nikola signed a memorandum of understanding in January 2023, agreeing to collaborate on the co-development of large-scale green hydrogen production facilities in the U.S.
That agreement was based on the understanding that the supply of green hydrogen for any potential projects would be underpinned by Nikola as a potential offtaker.
The PHH investment coincided with the announcement that Fortescue Metals Group and FFI would come together as one brand ‘Fortescue’ to represent being “a unified global metals and green energy company.”
The move was confirmed as part of Fortescue’s 20-year anniversary.
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