Opinion – Green hydrogen partnerships and cutting-edge research

Opinion – Green hydrogen partnerships and cutting-edge research

Chris Movirongo 

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the global community, but it also presents a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity for significant economic growth and expansion. 

For countries like Namibia, the climate emergency presents a chance to take control of its future energy needs and secure economic prosperi,ty. As well as being an environmental imperative, decarbonation through the replacement of fossil fuels is the pathway to a stronger, more resilient economy and nation. 

It provides plentiful low-cost green energy, enhanced global competitiveness, and diversifies the economy to future-proof it for a carbon-counting world. Namibia holds a distinct advantage in the move towards a green energy future with vast renewable resources, especially across wind and sunlight. Driven by the leadership of Andrew Forrest AO, Fortescue Energy was born from Fortescue Metals in 2020 with a bold mission: to lead the global shift away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable, green energy future.

 In the green energy sector, Fortescue is at the forefront of creating solutions, technology, supply chains and infrastructure to power the green transition. In September 2022, Fortescue committed to eliminating terrestrial emissions from its Australian iron ore operations by 2030 (Scope 1 and 2), and attain carbon-neutrality for its scope 3 emissions by 2040. By 2030, decarbonisation will allow us to save over 700 million litres of diesel and avoid three million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions across our operations each year. Our roadmap not only addresses environmental concerns but will also generate significant cost savings for our business. The move shows the world that not only is it possible – it is profitable – to move beyond fossil fuels. Fortescue Energy, the green energy arm of the business, is responsible for not only enabling our decarbonisation plan, but driving the evolution of Fortescue into an international green energy, technology, and resources company. Fortescue is building a global portfolio of hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar resources to meet a significant and rapidly-growing global demand for green hydrogen and green energy. 

In order to meet growing demand, Fortescue is looking at projects to produce green hydrogen and renewable energy across Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the US, South America and Australia. Fortescue has also established impactful partnerships to advance research in key areas of green hydrogen production, storage, and distribution. 

Notably, Fortescue and Strathmore University have recently partnered to propel green energy and hydrogen production in Africa, formalised by an agreement signed at the Africa Energy Forum in Nairobi. This collaboration seeks to develop programs that nurture talent, promote research, and empower Kenyan people and institutions to lead in green energy and hydrogen.

The partnership focuses on building regional expertise, creating a green hydrogen innovation ecosystem, and supporting Kenya’s transition from fossil fuels. As demand grows, technology will be key to scaling up the green hydrogen economy and making it cheaper and more efficient. Recognising the essential role of technology and innovation in decarboning our operations and the world, Fortescue has established a robust R&D team – starting in Australia and the United States – to remain at the cutting edge of science, collaborate closely with universities and national laboratories, and export our learnings to the world. 

As the world increasingly harnesses the boundless potential of renewable energy, Fortescue is committed to partnering with nations that share our vision of economic resilience and energy independence through pioneering green energy projects. With a steadfast commitment to the future, we look to continue our collaboration with Namibia, unlocking unparalleled opportunities and leading the charge together towards a sustainable, renewable future. 

*Chris Movirongo is the country director for Fortescue, a green technology, energy and metals company. 

Photo: Research

Caption: Chris Movirongo 

Photo: Contributed