Using Wind Power to Produce Hydrogen for Export

In 2021, the Australian company Fortescue Future Industries, a subsidiary of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., announced that it would develop one of its five largest green hydrogen projects in Sierra Grande, a former mining town in eastern Argentina's Río Negro province. The company plans to install the project, powered by 2 GW of new onshore wind power capacity, along the Patagonian steppe, investing USD 8.4 billion. The region has outstanding wind resources but lacks a power grid and adequate road infrastructure. The ongoing wind resource assessment, started in 2021, will allow the pilot phase of the project to kick off in 2022 with an investment of USD 1.2 billion and the production of 35,000 tonnes of hydrogen by 2024. A first production phase will follow, involving a USD 7.2 billion investment and generating around 215,000 tonnes of hydrogen until 2028.

The project is expected to create around 15,000 direct jobs when fully operational and to bring local development to the region, which closed its last iron mine in 2016. Near the existing San Antonio port, dedicated mainly to fruit and fish exports, Fortescue will build a seawater desalination plant and a port focused exclusively on the export of hydrogen to countries using hydrogen to fuel vehicles and engines. By 2030, the project is expected to produce 2.2 million tonnes of green hydrogen for export. Argentina's Ministry of Productive Development is working to establish a regulatory framework – including a tax-free zone – to underpin the viability of green hydrogen. Fortescue also announced several collaborations during 2021 to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia in Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Jordan and Papua New Guinea.

Source: See endnote 151 in chapter 3.

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