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Elizabeth Gaines. Image: Fortescue Metals Group.

Fortescue Metals Group is looking into developing a green ammonia plant in Bell Bay, Tasmania that will be powered entirely by the state’s renewable energy.

The project is envisaged to produce 250,000 tonnes of green ammonia a year, underpinned by a 250 megawatt green hydrogen plant.

The news comes as Fortescue has been declared a successful participant in the Tasmanian Government’s $50 million renewable hydrogen industry development funding program.

The government plans to inject $2.6 million into three renewable hydrogen projects, which include Fortescue’s proposed ammonia plant alongside that of Origin Energy and ABEL Energy’s green hydrogen and methanol export project.

Fortescue aims to reach an investment decision for the project in 2021.

“Working with our wholly owned subsidiary Fortescue Future Industries, we are assessing clean energy opportunities locally and internationally to capitalise on the important role that green hydrogen will play to ensure the world can meet the Paris 2050 targets,” Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said.

“Subject to detailed feasibility analysis, the Tasmania project will be an important step in demonstrating our intention to position Australia at the forefront of the establishment of a bulk export market for green hydrogen. “

Tasmania’s Minister for Energy Guy Barnett said that Fortescue’s project had the potential to create more than 350 construction jobs and 100 operational roles during the initial phase.

“Using Tasmania’s renewable energy resources, there is opportunity for further expansion,” Barnett said.

“… Although we are not progressing smaller projects from this round, the Tasmanian Government remains committed to supporting large and smaller-scale renewable hydrogen projects in order to build and demonstrate our renewable hydrogen capabilities, test our regulatory frameworks and build social licence.”

According to Tasmania’s Minister for State Growth Michael Ferguson, that the government will be assisting in identifying hydrogen domestic offtake opportunities in the state.

They include transport, commercial applications and agricultural use.

Fortescue aims to be net zero by 2040 and has launched an array of green hydrogen projects such as a partnership with CSIRO for the development of hydrogen technologies.

These include a world-first membrane technology that provides the potential for large scale hydrogen extraction from ammonia.

Products from Fortescue’s proposed ammonia plant are intended for domestic and international exports.