One of the world’s largest hydrogen-equipment manufacturing facility is planned for Gladstone as part of a new partnership between the Queensland State Government and renewable energy and hydrogen company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

Jobs numbers are expected to exceed 300 over the life of the project. The partnership is expected to create thousands of jobs in years to come. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said as a result of the partnership, Gladstone would become a world-leading hub for the manufacture of electrolysers – vital to the production of renewable hydrogen.

“We’re seeing growing interest globally in renewable hydrogen,” said Palaszczuk. “We don’t just want to export our resources – we want to develop a manufacturing industry capable of making the electrolysers in Queensland as well. Andrew Forrest (Chairman of FFI) and I both see Queensland’s great potential as a renewables exporter and manufacturer of hydrogen equipment. This partnership will create local jobs, support our economic recovery and create an advanced manufacturing industry in Gladstone that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the country.”

In its initial stage, the $114m investment from FFI will create 120 construction jobs and 53 operational jobs. Jobs numbers are expected to exceed 300 over the life of the project.

“We have a strategy to partner with the private sector to make Queensland a world leader in advanced manufacturing and hydrogen generation,” Palaszczuk added. “This is a great boost to Queensland’s growing credentials as an emerging superpower in renewable hydrogen.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the deal was a boost for Queensland’s growing credentials as an emerging superpower in renewable hydrogen.

“We will create more jobs in Queensland by capturing industrial and manufacturing opportunities from the global decarbonisation momentum,” Miles said. “FFI will construct a facility with an initial capacity to manufacture up to two gigawatts (GW) of electrolysers annually. Future plans are to expand both electrolyser manufacturing and other renewable energy components, which is expected to support other regional investment including in hydrogen production.”

Hydrogen electrolysers use power to split hydrogen from water. When produced using renewable power the hydrogen is emission-free. Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that can be used for energy storage, as a feedstock for industrial processes, to produce heat and for a wide range of transport applications.

Dr Andrew Forrest AO, Chairman and Founder of FFI, said: “We are immensely proud to be pioneering a Green Energy Manufacturing Centre in Gladstone. This initiative is a critical step in Fortescue’s transition from a highly successful pure play iron ore producer to an even more successful green renewables and resources powerhouse.”

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said manufacturing hydrogen and the equipment needed to produce it would mean Queensland would export its renewable energy as well as its technological know-how: “The world is rapidly decarbonising and that presents new opportunities for more jobs here in Queensland. Onshoring manufacture of hydrogen industry components means enduring benefits for Queenslanders all the way through the value chain, as part of the global industrial transformation. As well as exports, the products Queensland tradies will make will open up new industrial activity across the state, fuelling domestic industrial hubs and enabling the decarbonisation of sectors like heavy transport.”