Tag Archives: Fortescue Future Industries

Williams Advanced Engineering to debut off-highway electrification solutions at Bauma

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), now wholly owned by Fortescue Metals Group, will be showcasing a wide range of cutting-edge electrification solutions, all of which will support acceleration of the off-highway sector in its journey to decarbonisation, at next week’s Bauma 2022 event in Munich, Germany.

WAE will be using the event to show its leading advanced battery and energy storage technology, which have been specifically developed for the rugged use cases of mining and other off-highway applications.

Following its acquisition by Fortescue at the start of this year, WAE, already a leader in high performance battery technology developed originally for global motorsport and road car programs, is becoming a leading supplier to the off-highway sector, using its expertise to support Fortescue in its transition to a global green renewables and resources company through the decarbonisation of its worldwide vehicle fleet, it said.

Additionally, WAE is working on a world first, zero emission ‘Infinity Train’; a regenerating battery-electric iron ore train project using gravitational energy to recharge its battery-electric systems without any additional charging requirements for the return trip to reload.

In June 2022, Fortescue announced a partnership with Liebherr, who will be developing and supplying green mining haul trucks (using the T264) in which zero emission power system technologies – developed by Williams Advanced Engineering – will be integrated.

WAE’s technology line-up at Bauma 2022 will include the following off-highway specific innovations:

Off-Highway Battery Module

Featuring a scalable, modular design delivering sub-30 minute pack charge times for maximum performance, WAE’s Off-Highway Battery Module boasts laser-welded cell-to-busbar technology for in service reliability, the company says. It also has a robust alloy frame, which improves durability and extends life in service, as well as optimised cell packaging for maximum energy density.

Battery Management Unit

Unlocking battery performance through best-in-class software architecture, WAE’s Battery Management Unit is designed for pack architectures of less than 800 V. Its advanced state detection algorithms allow for more efficient energy usage, while the unit also reduces equipment down-time by enabling maximised fast charge rates.

Cell Management Unit

Enabling real-time telematics to maximise cell performance, WAE’s Cell Management Unit allows high precision cell voltage and temperature monitoring. Its innovative flexi interconnects enables enhanced durability, while the system’s design also allows manufacturing complexity to be reduced for high volume applications.

DC-DC Converter

With a ruggedised design developed for deployment in off-highway vehicle applications, WAE’s DC-DC Converter is a 600kW 1.5kV – 1kV stepdown converter for high power loads. Its Silicon Carbide technology delivers exceptional efficiency of 98.5%, while full power operation takes place at ambient temperature of 50°C.

Vehicle Control Module

This powerful processing platform unlocks vehicle performance advantages, featuring a versatile vehicle system controller. Specifically designed for decarbonised powertrains it has a flexible heterogenous MPSoC processor.

Graham Belgum, General Manager for Green Fleet, WAE, said: “High performance battery and electrification systems are at the core of what we do. Over the last two decades WAE has garnered unparalleled experience in the development of cutting-edge technology which, increasingly is being applied to the off-highway sector. Now that we are part of the Fortescue family, WAE is central to battery power systems and products capability, supporting the business as it transitions to a clean, green fleet. Our technology has the potential to accelerate the decarbonisation of any off-highway vehicle – and we are delighted to be debuting these at Bauma 2022.”

FFI and IPL’s Gibson Island ‘green ammonia’ plans progress to engineering stage

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) will progress planning for the conversion of IPL’s Gibson Island ammonia facility to run on green hydrogen to its final stages, electing to commence front end engineering design as well as executing a framework agreement to govern the project through to a final investment decision, Fortescue Metals Group says.

With studies having confirmed its feasibility, the proposed project could see the construction of a new circa-500 MW hydrogen electrolysis facility at the site to produce green hydrogen as well as the retrofitting of IPL’s existing ammonia manufacturing facility to run on the green hydrogen produced on-site.

IPL’s Gibson Island facility will cease traditional fertiliser manufacturing early in the new year. As part of IPL’s decarbonisation strategy and in line with FFI’s goals to help heavy industry decarbonise, the Brisbane ammonia manufacturing and port facility conversion would be a world-first, Fortescue claims.

The two companies said last year they were partnering on a project to conduct a feasibility study to convert the ammonia-production facility to run on green, renewable hydrogen.

IPL Managing Director and CEO, Jeanne Johns, said the company was pleased to create a pathway to a more sustainable future for the Gibson Island ammonia manufacturing facility after traditional fertiliser production ceases.

By virtue of running on green hydrogen, the facility could ultimately produce up to 400,000 t/y of green ammonia, which can be exported to international markets as well as used in fertiliser or to help decarbonise local industry through its potential use as a low-carbon fuel source for ports, airports and heavy transport.

Front end engineering design (FEED) is a critical phase in development and will firm up technical specifications and cost, underpin procurement, as well as mature the project to final investment decision (FID), targeted for 2023. The FEED phase is anticipated to cost around A$38 million ($24 million), with the federal government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, contributing A$13.7 million.

FFI CEO, Mark Hutchison, said around 100 jobs would be supported across the project in the lead up to FID, with first production, subject to FID, expected around 2025.

“Progressing this project into this final assessment stage is an important milestone in what will be a world-first conversion of an existing facility to become an industrial-scale producer of green hydrogen and green ammonia,” Hutchinson said.

“This collaboration aims to put Queensland and Australia ahead of the pack – not only in terms of the scale of production and supply of green hydrogen and green ammonia, but also in terms of demonstrating to the world that projects like this are feasible and that Australia has the foresight, the commitment, and the know-how to invest in and deliver them.

“We’re so pleased to have the support of a partner in IPL who are as invested as we are in developing real-world solutions to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and equally appreciate the support of the federal government who are a key enabler of us progressing the project to its final development phase.”

Johns said the announcement was a significant step forward for sustainability with IPL and FFI leading the global charge.

“The potential conversion of Gibson Island to green ammonia shows our commitment to pursuing opportunities to help create a more sustainable world in the new and emerging opportunities stemming from green ammonia,” Johns said.

“We are very pleased to be able to partner with FFI on what would be a world-first project, and I extend my thanks for the partnership and support from both the federal and Queensland governments.”

The parties are also working with the Queensland Government to understand how the project could benefit local energy markets and support the delivery of the Queensland Government’s Energy and Jobs Plan and broader development objectives.

WAE putting Fortescue in mine electrification pole position

Andrew Forrest’s statement on Fortescue Metals Group’s planned acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), an offshoot of the Williams F1 team founded by the revered, late Sir Frank Williams CBE, back in January was hardly understated.

He said: “This announcement is the key to unlocking the formula for removing fossil fuel powered machinery and replacing it with zero carbon emission technology, powered by FFI (Fortescue Future Industries) green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia.”

As time has progressed, the £164 million ($193 million) deal for the UK-based WAE closed (in March), and another significant announcement in the form of a tie-up between FMG, FFI, WAE and Liebherr has followed, the FMG Founder and Chairman’s words have looked increasingly prescient.

This became apparent to IM on a recent visit to WAE’s Grove headquarters in Oxfordshire, England.

What FMG now has on its books and what FFI is managing in the form of WAE is arguably one of the world’s leading decarbonisation technology companies.

WAE’s reach goes far beyond the pit lanes of a race track. Its impact is felt in the automotive, defence, aerospace, energy, life sciences and health care sectors – as an example, a Babypod 20, a Formula One-inspired environment for new-born babies in need of emergency transportation, was on display in the boardroom IM sat in during an interview at Grove.

One of its more recent market entries has been in mining, with WAE’s fingerprints on two of the industry’s major fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) haul truck movements.

Prior to the acquisition by Fortescue, WAE provided “electrical architecture and control hardware and software” for the battery system on a 100-day “sprint” FFI project focused on converting a legacy 221-t class Terex Unit Rig MT4400 AC electric drive, diesel-powered haul truck to run on a ‘green’ hydrogen 180 kW fuel cell system and a 300 kW/h battery.

For the nuGen FCEV truck that premiered at Anglo American’s Mogalakwena PGM mine in South Africa earlier this year, WAE supplied a 1.2 MWh battery pack that, along with multiple fuel cells amounting to 800 kW of power, propelled the converted 291-t-class Komatsu 930E around the mine site.

Input to these two projects put WAE on the mining map, but this represents a fraction of the impact the company is likely to have on mining’s decarbonisation journey going forward.

WAE is currently engaged on two major projects for FFI – one being the conversion of another legacy Terex MT4400 AC electric-drive truck to an all-battery powered setup and the other being an all-battery rail loco that FFI has named the INFINITY TRAIN™.

Both projects highlight the depth of battery system technology expertise that led FMG to acquiring the company in the first place – design expertise spawned from development across multiple sectors and operating environments, utilising the latest cell technology across all form factors.

There is a common thread that hangs between all this work, as Craig Wilson, WAE CEO, explained to IM.

“We develop our battery systems for the specific application, factoring in the duty cycle, the cost constraints, required performance and environment the solution will be working in,” he said. “In motorsport, for instance, you can imagine weight, aerodynamics and space are more critical than they are in mining.”

Being battery cell, chemistry and format agnostic, WAE has built up a reputation in the battery industry for specifying and developing a diverse pool of battery systems that continue to push performance to the limit.

Differentiated modelling

Sophisticated modelling and simulation tools – much of which has been developed in-house – are behind this, according to WAE’s Chief Programme Manager, Alec Patterson.

“We have detailed in-house simulation tools which allow us to develop and optimise a battery pack’s performance against any customer’s drive cycle criteria,” he said. “This includes thermal simulation where the team model the detailed internals of a cell, allowing them to understand exactly how each cell is likely to behave and, thereby, being able to optimise their cooling for increased performance. This comes from our motorsport heritage and the team’s ability to manipulate and analyse large amounts of data through supercomputer levels of processing power.”

Prototyping and field tests are designed to “validate” this modelling and simulation work, he added.

Battery design also calls for a strong focus on safety and this is where WAE’s extensive practical experience is fully utilised.

“We have detailed in-house simulation tools which allow us to develop and optimise a battery pack’s performance against any customer’s drive cycle criteria,” Alec Patterson says

Patterson summarised this offering: “There are a number of ways the battery is developed to ensure cell safety. These range from understanding in detail the performance of the cell through practical testing, the design of the modules themselves and the monitoring of the cells for voltage and temperature throughout usage. WAE has developed its own Cell Monitoring Unit hardware and Battery Management Unit hardware and, combined, they monitor the status of the pack and control the performance outputs many times a second. In the FFI battery sub pack, dielectric (non-conductive) coolant is used so if a leak was to occur it wouldn’t cause an internal issue; detection of which would be through WAE’s propriety on-board sensors.”

Overlay these preventative measures with an array of experience in various fields that would have seen battery systems take significant G-shock loads and operate in high temperature environments – whether that be a crash on a Formula E circuit or an Extreme E race in the Sahara – and it is easy to see why FMG initially believed WAE had knowledge and skills transferrable to mining.

Patterson concludes that advances in quality within the manufacturing process will also add to the reliability of the sub packs. At WAE those advances come in the form of laser welding, which ensures each cell is connected robustly for maximum performance.

Battery prototype progress

All this and more are being factored into the 221-t all-battery solution WAE is currently focused on as part of the FFI and FMG brief.

The battery will take the place of the diesel engine and alternator and will plug directly into the Terex MT4400 inverter to drive the motors and rear wheels. The battery system will have a capacity of >1 MWh (final specification to be revealed at a later date) and will be charged by a “fast-charge solution” sourcing power from a renewable grid FMG has already setup as part of its 60 MW Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project.

FMG has already set up a renewable grid as part of its 60 MW Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project

Once the battery system is delivered, integrated into the truck and commissioned at FFI’s Hazelmere facility, it will be transported to the Pilbara where it will start extensive testing outside FMG’s current mining operations.

WAE, FMG and FFI have overcome more than a few hurdles to get to the point where they can talk about such a plan.

While most of the battery houses in the UK can test each sub pack individually, WAE had to locate a specialist test house capable of testing out the full battery pack from both a motor-drive perspective and a battery re-generation standpoint.

This has seen the complete solution – a 12 t motor, inverter, cooling system, battery system and power distribution unit – begin testing a few months back.

Charging packs of this scale is one of the major industry challenges currently.

“Our charging strategy is centred around the individual cell chemistry and form factor which allows us to specify a higher rate of charge for the battery sub pack,” Patterson said. “To enable fast charging, a combination of a large charger and ability to cool the pack through the charging process is required, and our pack is designed for both.”

At the same time, WAE is aiming to further optimise the regeneration aspect of the electrification project, realising this is key to getting the trucks to complete as many haul cycles as possible without the downtime associated with a battery recharge – even if it is a ‘fast charge’.

“The real challenge is centred around how to manage the large accumulation of energy from the wheel motor during braking or retarding downhill fully laden,” Patterson said. “Do you send this to the battery or the resistor grid to burn off? Our job is to optimise the power electronics to make sure as much of that energy as possible goes back into the battery in order to make the whole system more efficient.”

The entire battery system will soon be shipped to Australia to go into the Terex truck at Hazelmere, at which point the charging system can be fully tested and the re-generation system trialled.

Leveraging gravity

This work will no doubt influence the other big project WAE is currently involved in for FFI and FMG – the electrification of FMG’s rail operations.

Fortescue’s current rail operations include 54 operating locomotives that haul 16 train sets, together with other on-track mobile equipment. Each train set is about 2.8 km in length and has the capacity to haul 34,404 t of iron ore in 244 ore cars.

A world first, zero emission INFINITY TRAIN concept has been put forward to replace this setup – which travels on some 620 km of track between the Cloudbreak mine and Herb Elliott Port at Port Hedland.

Fortescue’s rail operations consumed 82 million litres of diesel in the 2021 financial year, accounting for 11% of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions (©JoshFernandes2021)

The regenerating battery-electric iron ore train project will use gravitational energy to fully recharge its battery-electric systems without any additional charging requirements for the return trip to reload, according to FMG.

The challenges associated with this project include the size of the battery and motor combination required to store enough energy from the fully laden, downhill journey from Cloudbreak to Herb Elliott Port to make sure the unladen trains can travel back without a charge, and the residual power and torque generation that would typically be applied to get the locos started.

On the latter, Patterson said: “Your contact area in terms of the wheel to rail is very small in comparison to the load, so our control strategy will utilise learning from our in-house VDC (vehicle dynamic control) software to design a solution that controls slippage for maximum adhesion.”

If an appropriate solution comes to the fore, the sustainable value is significant for FMG.

Fortescue’s rail operations consumed 82 million litres of diesel in the 2021 financial year, accounting for 11% of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions. This diesel consumption and associated emissions will be eliminated once the INFINITY TRAIN is fully implemented across Fortescue’s operations, significantly contributing to Fortescue’s target to achieve “real zero” terrestrial emissions (Scope 1 and 2) across its iron ore operations by 2030.

Electrification for everyone

Just as WAE’s involvement in the conception of the first Formula E battery led to wider electrification in motorsport, WAE believes its work in mining will have far-reaching ramifications across the off-highway sector.

Just how far reaching it will be is dictated by the most significant project – in terms of scale and timeline – WAE has on its books.

In June, FMG announced a partnership with Liebherr for the development and supply of green mining haul trucks for integration with the “zero emissions power system” technologies being developed by FFI and WAE.

Under the partnership, Fortescue will purchase a fleet of haul trucks from Liebherr; a commitment that represents approximately 45% of the current haul truck fleet at Fortescue’s operations, with truck haulage diesel consumption representing approximately 200 million litres in the 2021 financial year, accounting for 26% of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions.

The zero emissions power system technologies are expected to be fitted on machines based off the 240-t T 264 model to be deployed at its Pilbara mining operations. They could include both battery-electric and FCEV configurations, hence the reason why the all-battery prototype project and the FCEV project are so significant.

With the first of the zero emission haul truck units expected to be fully operational within Fortescue mine sites by 2025, FMG, WAE and Liebherr look set to take the electrification lead over its mining company peers.

The zero emissions power system technologies are expected to be fitted on machines based off Liebherr’s 240-t T 264 model to be deployed at Fortescue’s Pilbara mining operations

Yet Wilson says this type of solution could turn into a commercial product that others select for their own decarbonisation program – hence the industry-wide electrification potential.

When asked the question whether the company may still supply battery systems to the likes of Anglo American (as it did for the NuGen truck) under the new Fortescue ownership, he replied: “We could do, but the decision is not just down to us.

“Through the relationship with Liebherr, the intention is to provide really competitive products that are available to other mining companies, whether it be Anglo, Vale or BHP, for example…The absolute intention is not to come up with a development or product that is just for Fortescue.”

In this respect, he likens FMG to Tesla in the way the electric car manufacturer has acted as the catalyst to fundamentally change the automotive sector’s electrification approach.

“Tesla, today, is nowhere near being considered a large automotive manufacturer by industry standards, but they have created a catalyst for everybody else to move from in terms of battery-powered cars,” Wilson said.

“They have almost coerced the rest of the manufacturers to move this way; you only need to look at VW Group now – one of the world’s largest car makers – that is committing the majority of its business towards electrification.

“The difference with Fortescue is it is both the operator of these vehicles as well as the owner of the technology (through WAE). It is developing these products to use them, putting its whole business on the line.”

This extends as far as looking at its own mining operations and how it can optimise the pit profile and infrastructure to benefit from all the advantages expected to come with battery-electric haulage.

“Both the Fortescue mine planning and decarbonisation teams are working hand-in-hand with us to develop a mine site for the future of electric mining,” Patterson said. “We are working together to answer the questions about what needs to change to operate these trucks to maximise uptime, where to put the charging points, how to optimise the charging, etc.

“That work is going to be really important for us in terms of developing a commercial solution that provides the sustainable gains over the long term and decarbonises the entire fleet.”

Even when factoring in a project that takes ‘stretch targets’ to a new level, that is reliant on sourcing components from an evolving electrification supply chain, and that is scheduled to see solutions arrive within three years of finding an OEM partner in the form of Liebherr, it’s hard to doubt WAE, FMG, FFI and (of course) Andrew Forrest from steering such a project through to the finish line.

After that, it’s a matter of the rest of the industry catching up.

Fortescue pledges $6.2bn of decarbonisation investment on way to producing carbon-free iron ore

Fortescue Metals Group’s decarbonisation plans have stepped up a gear, with the company announcing it intends to eliminate fossil fuel use and achieve “real zero” terrestrial emissions (Scope 1 and 2) across its iron ore operations by 2030 with a $6.2 billion capital investment.

The investment, the company says, will eliminate Fortescue’s fossil fuel risk profile and enable it to supply its customers with a “carbon-free” product.

“Real zero” refers to no fossil fuels and, wherever possible, no offsets, the company explained. Under the use of the term, offsets must only be used as a temporary solution while the technology or innovation required to completely decarbonise is developed.

Fortescue’s strategy will see the company lead the market in terms of its response to growing customer, community and investor expectations to reduce/eliminate carbon emissions, it said.

“Fortescue expects to generate attractive economic returns from its investment arising from the operating cost savings due to the elimination of diesel, natural gas, and carbon offset purchases from its supply chain,” it added. “Fortescue is well positioned to capitalise on first-mover advantage and the ability to commercialise decarbonisation technologies.”

Fortescue made the announcement at the invitation of US President Biden’s First Movers Coalition and the United Nations Global Compact, with the Secretary General of the United Nations at the CEO roundtable on “Business leadership to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Fortescue also announced that the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) will verify and audit its emissions reduction. This technical auditing initiative was instituted to ensure companies reach their Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade.

Fortescue says its decarbonisation journey started on the commencement of the first major trip on August 25, 2020, during the advent of COVID-19 to secure technology, demand and resources for the green energy ecosystem. It consolidated further at the successful completion of the 100-day sprint to create the world’s first mining truck to run on hydrogen (a FCEV).

When fully implemented, Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy and associated investment will provide significant environmental and economic returns by 2030, including:

  • Avoidance of 3 Mt of CO2-equivalent emissions per year;
  • Net operating cost savings of $818 million per year from 2030, at prevailing market prices of diesel, gas and Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs);
  • Cumulative operating cost savings of $3 billion by 2030 and payback of capital by 2034, at prevailing market prices;
  • Elimination of Fortescue’s exposure to fossil fuels and associated fossil fuel price volatility which, in turn, will de-risk the operating cost profile;
  • Removal of the company’s exposure to price risks associated with relying on carbon offsets as well as carbon tax regulatory risk;
  • Establish a significant new green growth opportunity by producing a carbon-free iron ore product and through the commercialisation of decarbonisation technologies;
  • Ensuring future access to green driven capital markets.

Fortescue’s capital estimate of $6.2 billion is expected to see the investment largely planned in the company’s 2024-2028 financial years. This investment includes the deployment of an additional 2-3 GW of renewable energy generation and battery storage and the estimated incremental costs associated with a green mining fleet and locomotives.

The capital expenditure to purchase the fleet will be aligned with the scheduled asset replacement life cycle and included in Fortescue’s sustaining capital expenditure. Studies are underway to optimise the localised wind and solar resources.

The investment is expected to generate a positive net present value through enabling the displacement of approximately 700 million litres of diesel and 15 million GJ of gas per year by 2030, as well as the associated reduction in CO 2 emissions.

Fortescue Executive Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, said: “There’s no doubt that the energy landscape has changed dramatically over the past two years and this change has accelerated since Russia invaded Ukraine.

“We are already seeing direct benefits of the transition away from fossil fuels – we avoided 78 million litres of diesel usage at our Chichester Hub in financial year 2022 – but we must accelerate our transition to the post fossil fuel era, driving global scale industrial change as climate change continues to worsen. It will also protect our cost base, enhance our margins and set an example that a post fossil fuel era is good commercial, common sense.

“Fortescue, FFI and FMG are moving at speed to transition into a global green metals, minerals, energy and technology company, capable of delivering not just green iron ore but also the minerals, knowledge and technology critical to the energy transition.

“Consistent with Fortescue’s disciplined approach to capital allocation, this investment in renewable energy and decarbonisation is expected to generate attractive economic returns for our shareholders through energy cost savings and a sharp reduction in carbon offset purchases, together with a lower risk cost profile and improvement in the integrity of our assets.”

Fortescue has already made significant effort in decarbonising its iron ore operations through its successful green fleet trials and innovation, acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and its partnership with Liebherr in June this year. Building on Fortescue’s announcement in March 2022 to develop with FFI and WAE the world’s first regenerating battery electric iron ore train, feasibility studies are progressing, with delivery of the first parabolic (gravity powered) drive trains to the Infinity locomotives scheduled to be operational by the end of 2026.

Fortescue looks to ‘accelerate and support’ mine decarbonisation with WAE buy

Fortescue Metals Group has entered into an agreement to acquire UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) from EMK Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited for £164 million ($223 million) in a deal that will, FMG says, enable it to accelerate and support the decarbonisation of its mining operations as well as establish an important new business growth opportunity.

The transaction is expected to conclude by the end of March 2022, subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions precedent including United Kingdom foreign investment approval.

WAE, an offshoot of the Williams F1 team founded by the revered, late Sir Frank Williams CBE, will be vertically integrated into Fortescue’s diversified resources and green energy business and will be managed via Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), Fortescue’s green energy and green technology division.

Fortescue has worked closely with WAE since early 2021 to design and build a prototype battery system to power an electric mining haul truck, an important first step in the decarbonisation of its mining haul fleet, the miner said.

Together, Fortescue and WAE will develop battery-electric solutions for Fortescue’s rail, mobile haul fleet and other heavy mining equipment, to accelerate the rapid abatement of diesel usage to achieve the decarbonisation of Fortescue’s mining operations by 2030. In addition, Fortescue and WAE will work together to grow WAE’s green technology and engineering business.

One of the first major projects to be developed will be a world leading battery-electric train concept. Fortescue and FFI will announce further details on this early in 2022. The two are also working on a 240 t all-battery-electric truck that is in development. WAE has begun testing the cells of a battery that will power the battery-electric truck before performance testing at FMG’s Pilbara mining operations.

Fortescue, as a foundation customer, will support the development and manufacturing of battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell power units with the goal for WAE to become a major player in the growing global market for heavy mobile equipment and rail.

WAE has also worked with Anglo American on its 291-t-class Komatsu 930E fuel cell electric vehicle.

Fortescue Founder and Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest, said: “Together FFI and WAE will work to decarbonise Fortescue – with the aim of achieving that faster and more effectively than anyone else in the world. This is an historic moment in the future of our company as we welcome the WAE family into the Fortescue family to work together to decarbonise heavy industry and hard to abate sectors for the good of our planet, and the benefit of our shareholders.

“This announcement is the key to unlocking the formula for removing fossil fuel powered machinery and replacing it with zero carbon emission technology, powered by FFI green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia.”

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue and WAE share strong cultural alignment with a focus on technology and innovation to support carbon neutrality, both companies being leaders in their respective industries.

“We have been working with WAE since early 2021, with WAE designing and building a battery system to power an electric mining haul truck; an important first step in the decarbonisation of Fortescue’s mining haul fleet. WAE’s expertise in battery systems and electrification further complements FFI’s green hydrogen projects for haul trucks and mobile fleet to further underpin our technical leadership.

“We look forward to working together to apply this technology-first strategy to our emissions reduction pathway while also empowering the highly capable WAE team to achieve growth opportunities in new products, services and markets.”

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, added: “The acquisition of WAE adds cutting-edge technology, intellectual property and engineering capabilities to support and accelerate FFI’s Green Fleet technology pathway. Rapid growth of WAE’s world-leading technology and engineering business and an expansion of its manufacturing footprint further enhances FFI’s position to become a major player in the global market for decarbonisation of the global heavy industry sector.”

Craig Wilson, Chief Executive Officer WAE, said: “High performance battery and electrification systems are at the core of what we do at WAE, and this acquisition and investment will enable the company’s further growth to support the delivery of zero emission products and services across existing sectors – such as automotive, motorsport and off-highway – and new sectors too. This will benefit all of our stakeholders along with current and future customers who are very important to us.

“We are delighted to play a key role in Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy, contributing to the delivery of their emissions reduction targets through high performance battery systems, green hydrogen and related technologies. We will also be focusing on addressing the sector-wide challenges in the off-highway sector. Both companies have a shared culture of innovation, setting and achieving challenging objectives and a genuine commitment to creating a sustainable future.”

Fortescue, FFI and Progress Rail collaborate on battery-electric loco deployment

Fortescue says it is continuing to progress the decarbonisation of its locomotive fleet with the purchase of two new battery-electric locomotives from Progress Rail to transport its iron ore to port in Western Australia.

The new eight-axle locomotives will have an energy capacity of 14.5 MWh and will be manufactured at the Progress Rail facility in Sete Lagoas, Brazil.

Fortescue, in December, said it was planning to test locomotives powered solely on green ammonia and other green renewable fuels and technologies at its rail operations in 2022, with two four-stroke locomotives arriving at Fortescue Future Industries’ Hazelmere facility, in Western Australia. These locos will undergo further testing on the new fuel system, joining other two-stroke locomotives which underwent testing earlier in 2021.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said on the latest developments: “The purchase of these new battery-powered locomotives marks an important milestone in the decarbonisation of Fortescue’s locomotive fleet and demonstrates our commitment to achieving carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, as we diversify from a pure-play iron ore producer to a green renewables and resources company.

“The new locomotives will cut our emissions while also reducing our fuel costs and our overall operational expense through lower maintenance spend.

“The acquisition builds on the work being carried out by Fortescue Future Industries’ Green Team in Hazelmere to deliver locomotives operating solely on green ammonia and other green renewable fuels and technologies.”

Fortescue is expected to take delivery of its first battery-powered locomotive in 2023.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, added: “FFI is a key enabler of Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy. Our Green Team has made outstanding progress in their mission to transform Fortescue’s trains, trucks, ships and other mobile equipment to operate on zero pollution fuels as soon as possible, and the purchase of these new battery-powered locomotives complements this work.

“Fortescue and FFI are working together to demonstrate that renewables can power the energy needs of Australia’s mining and resources sector.”

Marty Haycraft, President & CEO of Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Company, said: “We are pleased to be working with the Fortescue team to determine the application, feasibility and suitability of battery-electric technology for deployment on their railway and to manufacture two of our BE14.5BB locomotives for this important project.

“We look forward to continuing to support our global customers with innovative products and services to help them meet their sustainability goals.”

Fortescue making plans to test ‘green’ locomotives at rail operations in 2022

The decarbonisation of Fortescue Metals Group’s (Fortescue) locomotive fleet is ramping up with the arrival of two additional locomotives at Fortescue Future Industries’ (FFI) research and development facility in Perth, Western Australia.

The two four-stroke locomotives will undergo further testing on the new fuel system, joining the first two-stroke locomotive which underwent testing earlier this year.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said the arrival of the additional locomotives allowed FFI’s Green Team to expand their development as they focus on delivering a locomotive operating solely on green ammonia and other green renewable fuels and technologies.

“This is part of Fortescue’s ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2030 for Scope 1 and 2 emissions,” she said. “Our target is underpinned by a pathway to decarbonisation as we focus on investing in renewable energy and eliminating the use of diesel across our mining fleets. Fortescue’s fleet of locomotives is a critical element in decarbonising our operations and, through FFI, we are investing in cutting-edge technologies to power the green mining fleet of the future.”

FFI’s Green Team have been trialling technology in hydrogen, ammonia and battery power for trains, ship engines, haul trucks and drill rigs.

Earlier this year, the team achieved the successful combustion of blended ammonia fuel in a two-stroke locomotive, marking a significant milestone in Fortescue delivering on its decarbonisation targets.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, said: “FFI is a key enabler of Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy, and it is pleasing to see such rapid progress being made by our Green Team. We are investing in research and development to transform Fortescue’s trains, trucks and ships on the road, rail and sea with zero pollution fuels as soon as possible.”

Planning is underway to deploy a demonstration locomotive in Fortescue’s rail operations in 2022.

Fortescue Future Industries, Incitec Pivot to study ‘green’ hydrogen options at Gibson Island

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) says it is partnering with Incitec Pivot, Australia’s largest fertiliser supplier, to conduct a feasibility study to convert its ammonia-production facility at Gibson Island in Brisbane, Queensland, to run on green, renewable hydrogen.

The ammonia-production facility at Gibson Island currently uses natural gas as a feedstock and has a contract in place for this supply until the end of 2022.

FFI also plans to construct an on-site electrolysis plant, which will produce up to 50,000 t/y of renewable, green hydrogen for conversion into green ammonia.

The project, if successful, will create a new domestic and export market for green, renewable ammonia, according to FFI. The resulting green ammonia could also provide a low-carbon fuel supply to the Port of Brisbane and Brisbane airport.

Decarbonising existing industrial plants remains a major challenge in the transition to a green, renewable future, FFI says. The company aims to demonstrate that infrastructure conversion is both technically and economically feasible, in order to accelerate decarbonisation while protecting jobs.

FFI says today’s announcement aligns with the Queensland and Commonwealth governments’ strategy to develop an innovative and competitive green hydrogen industry that delivers reliable domestic supply and new export opportunities.

Incitec Pivot produces around 2 Mt/y of fertilisers for use in Australia’s grain, cotton, pasture, dairy, sugar and horticulture industries. The first step of the project will be a feasibility study, with preliminary results available by the end of 2021.

This is the second major announcement by FFI this week in Queensland, following an announcement to establish the world’s largest electrolyser, renewable industry and equipment manufacturing centre, the Global Green Energy Manufacturing Centre, at Gladstone.

FFI says it is committed to generating 15 Mt/y of green hydrogen by 2030, rising to 50 Mt/y in the decade thereafter. While FFI’s green hydrogen will supply both domestic and export markets, it will also enable Fortescue to achieve its industry-leading target of carbon neutrality by 2030.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, said: “FFI’s goal is to become the world’s leading, renewable energy and green products company, powering the Australian economy and creating jobs for Australia as we transition away from fossil fuels.

“FFI’s partnership with Incitec Pivot is an exciting opportunity to harness existing infrastructure at Gibson Island, fast tracking the production of green ammonia at an industrial scale.”

Incitec Pivot Managing Director, Jeanne Johns, said: “We are pleased to be partnering our world-class manufacturing and ammonia expertise in Australia with FFI’s hydrogen and renewable energy capabilities to contribute to Australia’s potential as a green ammonia powerhouse.

“If feasible, this project would sustain highly skilled manufacturing jobs at Gibson Island and allow us to leverage our existing capabilities and assets to create a thriving renewable hydrogen ecosystem in Australia in the near term.”

Fortescue issues ‘industry-leading’ Scope 3 emissions targets

Fortescue Metals Group has announced what it says is an industry-leading target to achieve net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040, addressing emissions across Fortescue’s entire global value chain, including crude steel manufacturing which accounts for 98% of the company’s Scope 3 emissions.

Fortescue’s approach to reducing Scope 3 emissions is to develop projects and technologies with a focus on reducing emissions from iron and steel making and to work with current and prospective customers on the application of the technology and the supply of green hydrogen and ammonia from Fortescue Future Industries (FFI). Fortescue will also prioritise the decarbonisation of its own fleet of eight ore carriers and engage with shipping partners to reduce, and aiming to eliminate, emissions from shipping.

FFI is targeting the production of 15 Mt of green hydrogen annually by 2030, which will underpin opportunities to work with customers and shipping partners on emissions reduction and elimination projects.

In addition to the long-term goal to achieve net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040, the following medium-term targets have been set:

  • Enable a reduction in emissions intensity levels from the shipping of Fortescue’s ores by 50% by 2030 from financial year (FY) 2021 levels; and
  • Enable a reduction in emissions intensity levels from steel making by Fortescue’s customers of 7.5% by 2030 from FY21 levels, to 100% by 2040.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Climate change is the most pressing issue of our generation and at Fortescue, setting stretch targets is at the core of our culture and values and we are proud to set this goal to tackle emissions across our value chain.

“Fortescue has commenced its transition from a pure play iron ore producer to a green renewables and resources company, underpinned by the world’s first major carbon emission heavy industry operation to set a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. This Scope 3 target is consistent with this transition and complements our targets for Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction.

“Collaboration is integral to driving the rapid transition to green energy, and we remain committed to actively engaging with our customers, suppliers and other key industry participants to facilitate the reduction of emissions. This includes the development of technologies and the supply of green hydrogen and ammonia through FFI, which will provide significant opportunities for the steel, cement and land and sea transport industries to decarbonise.”

To achieve the target, Fortescue and FFI are focused on accelerating a number of key initiatives:

  • Conversion of existing maritime vessels, including Fortescue’s fleet of ore carriers, to be fuelled by green ammonia;
  • Supporting the adoption of green ammonia in new vessel construction;
  • Pursuing opportunities for emissions reduction and elimination in iron and steel making, facilitated by the use of renewable energy and green hydrogen; and
  • Research and development work to produce green iron and cement from Fortescue ores at low temperatures without coal.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, said: “Our investments in technologies and research and development are focused on demonstrating that the production of iron ore, cement, iron and steel can operate with renewable energy.

“Our work to decarbonise Fortescue’s iron ore operations will position Fortescue as the first major supplier of green iron ore in the world, paving the way for production of green iron and a new green steel industry.”

Fortescue Future Industries plots path for 300 MW green hydrogen plant in Brazil

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue Metals Group, and Porto do Açu Operações SA (Port of Açu), a subsidiary of Prumo Logistica SA, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to assess the opportunity to develop hydrogen-based green industrial projects in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Signed in late February, the MoU will allow for FFI and Port of Açu to conduct development studies into the feasibility of installing a green hydrogen plant at Port of Açu, Latin America’s largest privately owned deep-water port-industrial complex, FFI said.

Subject to the outcome of the studies, the project envisages construction of a 300 MW capacity green hydrogen plant at Port of Açu, with potential to produce 250,000 t/y of green ammonia.

The availability of green hydrogen and renewable power is expected to drive further sustainable industrialisation of the port, including production of green steel, fertilisers, chemicals, fuels and other sustainably manufactured industrial products, according to FFI. Anglo American already uses the port for exporting its iron ore from Minas-Rio.

The MoU also lays the groundwork for on-site solar power development projects, as well as off-shore wind development projects in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, said: “FFI is assessing renewable energy and green hydrogen opportunities globally and will lead and drive the green energy and product industry as we transition away from fossil fuels.

“I am excited to announce this MoU with Port of Açu. The opportunity to establish totally new and future large-scale industries will drive growth in the Brazilian economy. We expect the potential for new green industries at Port of Açu to substantially diversify, broaden and deepen Brazil’s already skilled workforce.”

Jose Firmo, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Açu, said: “The Port of Açu is sailing steadfastly ahead toward the sustainable economy of the future. One of the pillars of our vision for the port’s industrialisation are today’s operational energy transition projects and the renewable energy-fuelled green industries of tomorrow.

“Açu is a gateway between the growing Brazilian economy and rapidly expanding low carbon businesses around the globe.”

Firmo added: “This will be the first green hydrogen plant in the country and will place FFI and Açu at the forefront of clean energy production and the green industrialisation of Brazil.”

Subject to the completion of feasibility studies and approvals, individual projects will be developed by FFI with ownership and project finance sources to be separately secured without recourse to Fortescue, the company said.