Australia’s Fortescue pursues quantum leap in green hydrogen quest
(Investing.com) Fortescue Metals Group is funding research by a quantum computing venture into ways to produce cheap and abundant green hydrogen as part of the Australian mining giant’s ambition to become the world’s top green energy group. IQT-News shares the developments below.
Founder Andrew Forrest told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos that Fortescue is becoming a funding research partner of Qlimate initiative, backed by Silicon Valley-based PsiQuantum, which aims to build the world’s first utility-scale quantum computer this decade.
Transportation and high costs have so far presented the main hurdles to green hydrogen rivalling fossil fuels but Forrest, who is Australia’s richest man, is betting that quantum computing will provide the solution to the puzzle.
“Liquid hydrogen has the same degree of challenges that the natural gas industry had around this time a few decades ago,” Forrest, who this month returned as executive chairman of the world’s fourth-largest iron ore miner, said in an interview.
“Unlike LNG (liquefied natural gas), which is 95% methane already, we can do anything with hydrogen. We can turn it into steel, turn it into fertilisers,” Forrest added.
Fortescue last year set out a plan to become carbon neutral by 2030, bringing forward the target by 10 years as it aims to start producing green hydrogen as soon as 2023.
PsiQuantum was founded in 2016 by Australian-British professor Jeremy O’Brien and other academics to build the world’s first commercially viable quantum computer.
O’Brien said that once PsiQuantum builds the computer it will be able to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing mankind, including in areas of chemistry.
Forrest did not say how much funding Fortescue was contributing to the Qlimate initiative. He has previously called on rivals to speed up energy transition and use green hydrogen.
Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990. She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.