Western Australian multi-billionaire Andrew Forrest – aka Twiggy – got his hands in every pie you could think of in 2021, from nickel to real estate, cannabis, and even cheese.

His investment arm, Tattarang, bought iconic boot brand RM Williams for $190 million and through its subsidiary, Squadron Energy, backed SunCable – the proponents of the Australia-Asia PowerLink Project where a subsea cable will transfer Australian solar power from Darwin to Singapore.

But it was his non-stop green energy push in the hydrogen space, via FMG’s green leg Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), that really got investors heads’ turning – and so it continues this year.


Green hydrogen supply plans

Putting FFI back on the green energy train this year is yesterday’s reveal of green hydrogen (and its derivatives, including green ammonia) supply plans to Germany-based Covestro, a leading polymer company, which uses hydrogen as a feedstock.

Around 100,000 tonnes of green hydrogen (GH2) equivalent per year will be supplied, starting as early as 2024 to Covestro plants across Asia, North America, and Europe.

FFI says the memorandum of understanding will see Covestro reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 900,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by replacing ‘grey hydrogen’ and its derivatives with GH2.

Grey hydrogen is derived from natural gas and produced by fossil fuels, making it the least renewable form of hydrogen.


Australia-Germany HyGATE deal

Forrest’s move into Germany follows the commitment by the Australian and German governments’ last year to pilot, trial, demonstration, and research projects along the hydrogen supply chain.

The launch of the ‘Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator’, known as HyGATE, sees the two countries injecting $50m and €50 million, respectively, into green hydrogen focused projects, where hydrogen is produced from renewables, producing zero pollution and its only by-product being steam.

It is one of three initiatives developed as part of the Declaration of Intent between the governments on the Australia-Germany Hydrogen Accord, signed in June.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will open the funding initiative in the first quarter of 2022 while project management group Jülich (PtJ) will implement HyGATE on the German side.


‘Ground-breaking’ collab marks important step towards circular economy

Speaking to the latest deal, Forrest said the “ground-breaking collaboration reinforces the power of green hydrogen to accelerate some of the most energy-intensive industries”.

“FFI and Covestro share the belief that green hydrogen and green ammonia will play a crucial role in enabling companies to reach their climate targets and preventing runaway global warming.”

Covestro CEO Dr Markus Steilemann said the collaboration underlines its ambition to pioneer the transition towards a circular economy.

“Green hydrogen and its derivatives play a key role for the chemical industry, both as an alternative feedstock and a source of clean energy,” he said.

“The transition towards green hydrogen and its derivatives will be an important step forward in our efforts to offer more sustainable products that also reduce the carbon footprint of our customer industries.”


Too many green hydrogen announcements to count… but we’ll try

FFI’s string of hydrogen announcements started back in January 2021, when FMG announced its pivot to hydrogen via Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

In July news broke with plans to make “headway” on a number of problems, including the design and construction of hydrogen powered haul trucks and drill rigs – two areas of the mining industry which rely heavily on diesel fuels.

Other bits and pieces include a 1 GW solar factory, a hydrogen electrolyser Gigafactory in Queensland, plans to turn Gladstone into a hydrogen equipment manufacturing hub, and its work with Incitec Pivot on converting its gas-fed ammonia plant into a green ammonia plant.

Forrest also took his green-making machine overseas to the Kingdom of Jordan, Papua New Guinea, the United Kingdom before COP26 kicked off, and Canada.

Plus the company joined forces with Los Angeles-based Hydrogen Co, with plans to decarbonise the aviation industry through zero emissions green hydrogen.