Fortescue’s interest validates green hydrogen
Sally Brooker, professor of chemistry at the University of Otago, also said that discussions between New Zealand officials and Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest over integrating Tiwai Point into its post-fuel plans fossils, did not promise anything new from ideas for the future use of the site already studied. .
While the Australian billionaire’s interest in aluminum smelting recently grabbed the headlines, Tiwai Point was not necessarily going to be part of New Zealand’s hydrogen future, she said. .
“I would take this as a promising sign, but I am neither an economist nor an industrialist,” said Professor Brooker.
“Tiwai is complicated because we don’t know if they’ll continue to make aluminum there – they can.”
The bottom line is that New Zealand needs to invest heavily in new renewable electricity generation “and do it now,” she said.
Green hydrogen, produced using renewable energy, was an established option that could be implemented now, she said.
Just as battery research improved the efficiency of electric vehicles, research would improve the efficiency of green hydrogen. But it wasn’t necessary before she was employed, she said.
Green hydrogen was a valuable chemical as countries turned to low-carbon economies.
It was essential to the production of carbon-friendly fertilizer, which used hydrogen produced from fossil fuels, known as brown hydrogen.
The production of green steel, instead of the current brown steel, was increasingly important, she said.
Professor Brooker, associated with Professor Aaron Marshall, Associate in Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Canterbury, is at the forefront of a New Zealand campaign for German research and investment in New Zealand .
Professor Brooker said the decision on funding to support the development of a German-New Zealand green hydrogen research center, based in Otago, had been slowed by the effects of Covid-19 in Germany.
But the bid had made it to the final stages, so things looked promising and a decision was expected in June.
Several other research funding requests were also pending, Professor Brooker said.