Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) will begin construction on its first green steel pilot plant in 2021 with a commercial plant in the Pilbara, powered by renewable energy, planned in the next few years. The plant will test the use of hydrogen in blast furnaces.
With 40pc of the world’s iron ore production, Australia is in a unique position to grow steelmaking capabilities with renewable resources. Australian industrialist and former FMG chief executive officer, Andrew Forest, noted that the country could potentially capture 10pc of the world’s steel market. This could add up to 40,000 jobs across the country.
Forrest noted that the answer is to produce iron ore and steel using zero-emissions energy is ultimately adopting hydrogen technology. He added that Australia could lead in hydrogen production and are working on its transportation with an investment of $300mn. FMG is also undertaking a feasibility study for 300GW of renewable energy with an aim to produce 1,000 GW of zero-emissions energy from solar, hydro-electricity and wind power. Presently, Fortescue is designing wind-solar farm in the Pilbara region to generate 40GW.
Forrest stated that FMG generates 2mn mt of greenhouse gas annually. The company is actively moving its fleet of trucks to renewable energy by 2030 and aiming to develop iron ore trains and ships powered by green ammonia. He stated that FMG is willing to share environmentally beneficial knowledge with competitors.