Tag Archives: Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid project

Fortescue fast-tracks carbon neutrality aim, sets plan to trial hydrogen-powered drills

Fortescue Metals Group is accelerating its carbon neutrality efforts, with the iron ore miner now expecting to achieve this ‘green’ milestone by 2030, 10 years earlier than its previous target.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue, will be a key enabler of this target through the development of green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in Australia, however, the company has also identified battery-electric technology as a potential diesel alternative game changer.

Dr Andrew Forrest, Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, said: “We have joined the global battle to defeat climate change. We are trialling and demonstrating green hydrogen technologies in global-scale commercial environments, while also rapidly evolving into a green hydrogen and electricity producer of similar scale.”

In line with its 2030 aim, Fortescue, through FFI and its operations team, is undertaking to deliver several key projects by the stretch target of June 30, 2021. This, the company says, will underpin its pathway to decarbonisation.

These projects include:

  • Developing a ship design powered by green ammonia and trialling that design in new ammonia engine technology, at scale;
  • Testing large battery technology in its haul trucks – a project the company is pursuing with the help of Williams Advanced Engineering;
  • Trialling hydrogen fuel cell power for its drill rigs;
  • Trialling technology on its locomotives to run on green ammonia; and
  • Conducting trials to use renewable energy in the Pilbara of Western Australia to convert iron ore to “green iron” at low temperatures, without coal.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Each of these projects will contribute to the world’s inexorable march to carbon neutrality. Fortescue will establish that the major steel, truck, train, ship and mobile plant industries can be operated with renewable, environmentally friendly energy. This will be possible as a result of these ground-breaking Fortescue trials. Each will be tested by Fortescue using commercial-scale equipment to prove that the demand for direct green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia could one day be as large as the fossil fuel industry.”

She added: “These projects are in addition to Fortescue’s significant investment with our partners into energy infrastructure, including the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project and Pilbara Energy Connect program.”

Forrest said the company’s commitment to demonstrate green hydrogen’s economic value in world-scale operations, and become a major energy exporter, means Fortescue will emerge as an “executor” of major green hydrogen projects.

He said the company’s green energy and industry initiatives may one day out-scale its iron ore business due to the global demand for renewable energy, but Fortescue’s commitment to iron ore and resources globally “remains indefeasible”.

Fortescue says it is seeking to move from being a major consumer of fossil fuel with a current trajectory of more than 1 billion litres a year of diesel being used across the operations if no remedial action is taken – to a major clean and renewable energy exporter.

FFI is advancing projects across Australia, including Tasmania, to build large-scale renewable energy and green hydrogen production capacity. This will expedite the substitution of green hydrogen and green ammonia for carbon-based fuels, it says. These projects will, with the support of Australia’s governments, contribute to a significant reduction in national carbon emissions.

Fortescue continues to invest in power options for Iron Bridge development

Fortescue Metals Group is to invest $450 million as part of a program that will see hybrid solar gas energy delivered to the under-construction Iron Bridge magnetite project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The Pilbara Generation project – as it is called – is the next stage of its Pilbara Energy Connect program, the company said. This complements the $250 million Pilbara Transmission project, announced in October 2019, and will provide low cost power to the energy efficient Iron Bridge project.

The $2.6 billion Iron Bridge Magnetite project is expected to deliver 22 Mt/y of high-grade 67% Fe concentrate production by mid-2022.

The Pilbara Transmission project consists of 275 km of high voltage transmission lines connecting Fortescue’s mine sites, while the Pilbara Generation project will include 150 MW of gas-fired generation, together with 150 MW of solar photovoltaic generation. This will be supplemented by large scale battery storage and will be constructed, owned and operated by Fortescue, the company said.

Together, the transmission and generation projects, totalling $700 million of investment, form the Pilbara Energy Connect program of works providing Fortescue with a hybrid solar gas energy solution that will enable low cost power to be delivered to Iron Bridge. “This allows Fortescue to leverage its existing energy infrastructure including the Fortescue River Gas Pipeline and generation capacity at the Solomon power station and support the incorporation of large scale renewable energy,” the company said.

The Pilbara Energy Connect project builds on the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid project which was announced last year. This landmark agreement with Alinta Energy will see up to 100% of daytime stationary energy requirements of the Chichester Hub iron ore operations powered by renewable energy.

Alinta will build, own and operate the 60 MW solar PV generation facility at the Chichester Hub and 60 km transmission line linking the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations with Alinta Energy’s Newman gas-fired power station. On completion, this will integrate with the Pilbara Energy Connect program, via the Pilbara Transmission project.

Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Mining is a 24/7 operation and efficient, reliable, competitive energy generation remains an important consideration for the mining sector in Western Australia. The lack of an integrated transmission network in the Pilbara has been a key barrier to entry for large scale renewables and Fortescue’s investment will address this issue.

“Fortescue’s commitment of $700million in electricity generation and transmission infrastructure will complete the integration of Fortescue’s stationary energy requirements in the Pilbara into an efficient network, while lowering the overall cost of electricity to existing and future sites.

“By installing 150 MW of solar PV as part of the Pilbara Generation project, the modelling indicates we will avoid up to 285,000 t of CO2/y in emissions, as compared to generating electricity solely from gas.

“Importantly, Pilbara Energy Connect allows for large scale renewable generation such as solar or wind to be connected at any point on the integrated network, positioning Fortescue to readily increase our use of renewable energy in the future.”

Pilbara Energy Connect builds on Fortescue’s previous energy initiatives, including the construction of the Fortescue River Gas Pipeline, the conversion of the Solomon Power Station from diesel to gas generation, as well as a partnership agreement with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to develop and commercialise hydrogen technology.

Downer to power up FMG and Alinta’s Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid project

Downer is to help turn Fortescue Metals Group’s Chichester Hub iron ore operations into a solar power leader following the award of circa-A$165 million ($113 million) in contracts by Alinta Energy.

These agreements will see the company build Alinta’s 60 MW Chichester solar farm and supporting power infrastructure in the Pilbara region in the north of Western Australia as part of the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid project, which FMG announced details of last week. It is expected to displace around 100 million litres annually of diesel used in the existing Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak power stations, according to FMG.

The project will see the construction of a new solar photovoltaic generation facility at Chichester Hub iron, as well as a circa-60-km transmission line linking Fortescue’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations with Alinta Energy’s Newman gas-fired power station and 35 MW battery facility.

Work awarded includes the engineering, procurement and construction of the Chichester solar farm, around 60 km of transmission line, two new substations and the upgrade of another, Downer said.

Grant Fenn, CEO of Downer, said the award is another endorsement of Downer’s experience and leadership in delivering renewable energy projects.

“We are looking forward to delivering the project in partnership with Alinta Energy and we are expecting an efficient integration of the solar farm and supporting power infrastructure into Alinta Energy’s existing network in the Pilbara,” Fenn said.

Downer is one of Australia’s largest and most experienced providers in the renewable energy market and power systems sectors, according to the company, delivering services to customers requiring both utility and commercial scale sustainable energy solutions.

The project is expected to be completed in the first half of 2021, Downer said.