Green Energy: Andrew Forrest’s FFI to build hydrogen electrolyser Gigafactory in Queensland
After a week of announcements in the green hydrogen space Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) is not showing any signs of slowing down.
In the company’s latest update, a letter of intent has now been signed with NASDAQ-listed Plug Power Inc to build a hydrogen electrolyser Gigafactory in Queensland, Australia.
The two organisations intend to build a two-gigawatt factory to produce large-scale proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers, with the ability to expand into fuel cell systems and other hydrogen-related refuelling and storage infrastructure in the future.
Plug Power will supply the electrolyser and fuel cell technology and FFI will contribute advanced manufacturing capabilities.
FFI chief executive officer Julie Shuttleworth said: “We need solar panels, wind towers, and electrolysers in such scale that we need to produce them where we use them – including in Australia.”
“We have enough solar and wind in Australia to power many countries of the world. Working together with Plug Power, we can create this future,” she said.
FFI will be the primary customer of the products manufactured by the joint venture, enabling its ambitions in decarbonising its operations with stationary power and mobility applications running on green hydrogen.
Under the agreement, FFI will also purchase 250 megawatts of Plug Power’s electrolyser solutions used to create hydrogen and oxygen from water for its Australian projects.
Plug Power will supply these from its Gigafactory in Rochester, New York with delivery expected in the second half of 2022.
This latest announcement follows a series of updates this week by FFI including the move to turn Queensland’s Gladstone into a hydrogen equipment manufacturing hub, the plan to build a 1 GW solar manufacturing facility in Australia, and its commitment to work with Incitec Pivot on converting its gas-fed ammonia production plant into a green ammonia plant.
Large data centers in the U.K., Germany, Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands are projected to draw 5.4GW (gigawatts) in ‘live IT power’ demand in 2030, up from 3GW at the end of 2021, according to a new study published by research company BloombergNEF (BNEF) in partnership with Eaton and Statkraft.
The study, Data Centers and Decarbonization: Unlocking Flexibility in Europe’s Data Centers, explores the growth of data centres in the five markets and how data centres could provide flexibility to the power system.
While generally seen as only a source of demand on the power system, the report finds that data centres are also a largely untapped resource to support the grid and the integration of renewables.
Across Europe, wind and solar power are projected to reach 60% of total power generation by 2030, and with these penetrations will come a greater need for flexibility.
The study highlights the need for greater awareness of data-centre flexibility — not only among data-centre operators and users, but also utilities and regulators.
Lead author of the report and decentralised energy analyst at BNEF Michael Kenefick said: “Data centres can be part of the solution for achieving higher renewable energy penetrations in Europe.
“Their on-site energy resources, such as uninterruptible power supplies and back-up generators, could in future be brought to bear to help support the grid.”
“And computing tasks could also be shifted to times – or locations – of high wind and solar resource.”
Data centres could provide 16.9GW of flexibility in total across the five markets examined in the report from their on-site uninterruptible power supply (UPS), back-up generation, back-up batteries and load-shifting.
“This is greater than the amount of power demand expected from the facilities themselves, because these resources in principle can each independently provide flexibility to the power system, either by reducing the amount of power the data center draws, or by exporting power,” the report said.