Fortescue takes minority stake in nascent tech firm Sparc Hydrogen

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) will spend US$1.8 million to acquire a 20% stake in Sparc Hydrogen – a technology firm which aims to one day produce green hydrogen from only sunlight and water.

The technology arm of Fortescue Metals Group is ploughing significant investment into green hydrogen opportunities around the world as it seeks to capitalise on soaring demand for fossil fuel substitutes.

Australian mining and energy magnate and Fortescue founder Andrew Forrest’s latest bet is on a technology that could produce hydrogen without the need for electrolysers, which are typically expensive and require substantial energy.

Sparc Hydrogen has an exclusive licence to develop and commercialise green hydrogen technology created by the University of Adelaide and Flinders University. FFI has the option to increase its stake to 36% for an additional $1.475 million.

“There is irrefutable scientific evidence that the planet is warming. Green hydrogen is a practical, implementable solution to decarbonise hard to abate sectors, including heavy industry,” said FFI chief executive Julie Shuttleworth.

“The research being undertaken by Sparc Hydrogen is important for FFI’s growing technology portfolio as we continue to develop technologies to lower emissions globally. We are excited to enter into this relationship and to support this critical research into green hydrogen,” she added.

Last year, consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie said Australia is at the head of a pack of nations chasing a huge opportunity in the export of hydrogen. Demand may climb as much as sixfold by 2050, the company said.