CSIRO, Fortescue kick start hydrogen industry

06 December, 2018

Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) and CSIRO have entered into landmark partnership to develop and commercialise hydrogen technology.

The centrepiece of the $20m partnership, announced on November 22 at CSIRO’s Brisbane laboratories, is an investment in CSIRO’s metal membrane technology, which enables ammonia to be used as a carrier material for hydrogen storage and transport.

CSIRO will work with Fortescue to identify, develop and commercialise technologies to support the creation of an Australian hydrogen industry and future global uptake.

 The agreement includes commercialisation arrangements for the membrane technology, with a subsequent five-year investment in hydrogen R&D.

 “CSIRO has a strong history of collaboration with industry, not just helping existing industries reinvent themselves through global disruption, but actually inventing entirely new industries like hydrogen where Australia can take the lead,” CSIRO CEO Dr Larry Marshall said.

“Today we’re seeing a ‘market pull’ from companies like Fortescue to reinvent themselves through deep science-driven innovation and follow the global market shift towards a low-emissions energy future, and in so doing create a whole new export market for our vast clean energy resources.”

"This partnership is great news for Australia, not just through new industry creation and the jobs that will flow from it, but in contributing to a different energy future that is secure, affordable, and sustainable.”

Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest said the company was excited to partner with CSIRO.

“We are at the beginning of an energy revolution and Fortescue intends to be at the forefront of this once in a generation opportunity,” he said.

“By combining CSIRO’s global leading research and development with Fortescue’s capability to rapidly develop new technologies, we will firmly establish our position in the global hydrogen industry.”

“Importantly, we see potential for a significant export market in hydrogen and look forward to collaborating with third parties to ensure Australia’s leadership in the new energy economy.” 

CSIRO will continue its own investment in hydrogen R&D, chiefly through its Hydrogen Energy Systems Future Science Platform and will work with Fortescue to commercialise technologies that support new energy markets, including in the chemicals and transportation sectors.

Both CSIRO and Fortescue recognise that a hydrogen industry will require a collaborative approach, and that many opportunities for partnership will emerge as technologies and markets develop.