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Billionaires unite to supply hydrogen to UK

Jo Bamford

Jo Bamford: ‘a monumental deal’

A deal between two billionaire industrialists will see an Australian company become the biggest supplier of green hydrogen to the UK.

Lord Bamford, chairman of construction company JCB, and his son Jo, who chairs Ryze Hydrogen, have secured a multi-billion pound deal with Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) run by metals magnate Andrew Forrest.

The deal, signed on the eve of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, will see JCB and Ryze purchase 10% of FFI’s global green hydrogen production. 

Under the partnership, FFI will lead the green hydrogen production and logistics to the UK market, and JCB and Ryze will manage green hydrogen distribution and development of customer demand in the UK.

FFI’s green hydrogen production is anticipated to grow to 15 million tonnes of GH2 per year by 2030, accelerating in the 2030s to 50 million tonnes per year.

Lord Bamford said: “This is an important step towards getting green hydrogen to the customer. It’s fine having an engine powered by green hydrogen, but no good if customers can’t get green hydrogen to fuel their machines. This is a major advance on the road towards making green hydrogen a viable solution.”

Wrightbus hydrogen bus

Wrightbus builds buses fuelled by hydrogen

His son Jo, an Edinburgh University graduate who owns Wrightbus in Ballymena, is the founder of Ryze which is building the UK’s first network of green hydrogen production plants. Wrightbus built the world’s first hydrogen double decker. He has made a number of approaches to the Scottish Government to participate in its hydrogen strategy.

He said: “This is a monumental deal, not just for us but for the UK as a whole. We have chosen to partner with the global leaders in green hydrogen and it is fabulous that two countries, the UK and Australia, can come together to create a brighter future.

“We are walking the walk on green hydrogen and now we want the Government to show its commitment to the sector by investing in buses, trains, trucks, ships, aircraft  and the entire green hydrogen supply chain.”

Dr Forrest, said, “This landmark, first of its kind partnership will help the UK to achieve Net Zero, particularly in the hard to electrify sectors.”

“Our agreement signals the first major shift in the global commercial landscape from fossil fuels towards the real, practical, implementable solution that is green hydrogen. We are delighted to announce this groundbreaking initiative at the critical climate forum of COP26.

“The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with replacing fossil fuel with only two million tonnes of green hydrogen is the equivalent of taking over eight million cars off the road – almost a quarter of the UK’s entire fleet.”

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An extended off-take agreement will be evaluated to provide green hydrogen to the European market, and the parties have agreed to evaluate collaboration opportunities to accelerate green hydrogen demand and establish green hydrogen and green industry manufacturing centres. 

FFI chief executive Julie Shuttleworth said, “This deal reinforces the inexorable march of green hydrogen as the fuel of the future. This is an example of the world’s first powerful, but increasing use of commerce, beginning the business world’s march to end global warming.”

“Green hydrogen is critical for the planet and good for business, a powerful fuel and ingredient in the manufacturing of a large range of industrial, difficult-to-decarbonise products. It will be fundamental in enabling the decarbonization of heavy industry globally.”

Rolls-Royce in Qatar deal

Qatar is teaming up with the aero-engines giant Rolls-Royce to launch a fund pumping billions of pounds of investment into new green engineering projects, reports The Sunday Times.

The move could create 10,000 UK jobs, it says.

The plan involves a new science and engineering campus in the north of England for start-ups to test and develop green technologies.

Examples could include inventions in carbon capture and storage, which takes out carbon dioxide from factories and power stations before it can enter the atmosphere.

The target is to create five “unicorn” companies — start-ups worth $1 billion — by 2030 and up to 20 by 2040.



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