Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has made its first major move in the United States following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, investing US$24M to acquire a 100 per cent interest in Phoenix Hydrogen Hub, LLC (PHH).
PHH is developing a proposed green hydrogen project located near Phoenix, in the city of Buckeye, Arizona. Phase One of the PHH project is planned to be an 80MW electrolyzer and liquefaction facility, capable of producing up to 12,000 tonnes of liquified green hydrogen annually, which can displace the equivalent of 10 million gallons of diesel consumption per year. The PHH project has further capacity to scale up production to help meet future demand.
The announcement of the investment comes as Fortescue Metals Group and FFI come together as one brand “Fortescue” to represent being a unified global metals and green energy company.
The move, which comes after 20 years with the proud FMG brand, was confirmed to staff to coincide with Fortescue’s 20-year anniversary.
FFI CEO Mark Hutchinson said FFI’s investment in the PHH has the potential to create hundreds of jobs. First production of green hydrogen from the PHH project is expected by the middle of this decade.
“FFI is actively expanding its U.S. presence and strengthening its position as a leading global developer of green energy production and technology,” Mr Hutchinson said.
We are committed to helping turn North America into a world-leading global green energy producer.
This is an exciting opportunity to work towards a fast-moving project that will lead the way in the U.S., creating new green industrial jobs for Americans, while also helping to reduce emissions once production begins. The U.S. is now one of the best places in the world to do this, with the Inflation Reduction Act making it an ideal place to invest in green energy.
This investment by FFI will greatly strengthen one of the country’s first and most important hydrogen ecosystems and it is a significant milestone in creating the all-important local connective infrastructure to accelerate the use of green hydrogen.
This demonstrates FFI’s commitment to decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors like transport and moving the world beyond fossil fuels.”
FFI is acquiring PHH from an affiliate of Nikola Corporation. Nikola is a global leader in zero-emissions transportation and energy supply and infrastructure solutions.
Nikola, whose trucks are manufactured in Coolidge, Arizona, will be a potential customer of liquified green hydrogen from the hub to support the deployment of its heavy-duty, zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen refuelling stations in California and the U.S. Southwest.
“Nikola’s priority is to see more zero-emission trucks on the road and this investment by FFI will greatly strengthen one of the country’s first and most important hydrogen hubs,” said Nikola Corporation President and CEO, Michael Lohscheller.
The large-scale deployment of hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel into the transportation sector is expected to benefit not only from the hydrogen tax credit in the Inflation Reduction Act, but also state level incentives such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in California.
Buckeye Mayor, Eric Osborn said: “Buckeye is committed to attracting clean energy businesses to the city, especially near the Sustainable Valley area. This facility adds to our ‘green’ portfolio making Buckeye the perfect location for similar technologies to expand and grow in our community.”
Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, said: “FFI’s investment further establishes Arizona as a national hydrogen leader. FFI will advance Arizona’s efforts to create a clean hydrogen ecosystem and build upon initiatives among industry and academia, including the Southwest Clean Hydrogen Innovation Network (SHINe), which is focused on developing a Southwest clean hydrogen hub.”
The PHH project is currently going through the final stages of its permitting process, and the procurement of long-lead equipment is well underway. It is anticipated the project will go to the Fortescue Board for a Final Investment Decision this year.