Global green energy company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) will evaluate the feasibility of converting the former Centralia coal mine in the United States into a green hydrogen production facility.
Green hydrogen is a zero-carbon, zero-methane fuel and unlike other types of hydrogen it does not require the burning of fossil fuels in the production process.
The proposed FFI green hydrogen production plant would enable the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors of the North American economy and support the development of a Pacific Northwest green hydrogen hub, potentially creating hundreds of new local jobs.
The Centralia coal-fired power plant is scheduled to close in 2025. Subject to the outcome of the feasibility studies, FFI’s intention would be to seek to employ the existing coal workforce for the proposed project, facilitating a transition into the emerging green energy economy.
Chairman and Founder of FFI Dr Andrew Forrest AO said, “FFI’s goal is to turn North America into a leading global green energy heartland and create thousands of green jobs now and more in the future.
“Repurposing existing fossil fuel infrastructure to create green hydrogen to power the world is part of the solution to saving the planet.
“The signing of this agreement is another important step in turning the corner once and for all, to implement the technologies carbon emitters need to reach net zero,” Dr Forrest said.
FFI also today announced that it would apply for a US Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Hub Program grant in collaboration with Pacific Northwest stakeholders. The Hydrogen Hub Program was enacted under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is being implemented by the DOE.
Chief Executive Officer of FFI North America, Paul Browning, said, “The electric power grid of the Pacific Northwest is one of the lowest carbon power grids in the world and can be used to produce green hydrogen, and could extend the region’s low carbon leadership to hard to electrify sectors like long-haul trucking, ports, aviation, and heavy industry.
“Together with other Pacific Northwest stakeholders, we plan to utilize legacy fossil fuel infrastructure and workforce to produce green hydrogen and pursue a growing zero carbon economy in Lewis County and the Pacific Northwest region.”
FFI is progressing discussions with the Lewis County Energy Innovation Coalition to investigate developing hydrogen applications in the Centralia-Chehalis twin cities. This includes working with bus transit operator, Twin Transit, to decarbonise commuter buses and other heavy transport operations.