Global mining companies BHP, Fortescue Metals and Anglo American, and engineering consultancy firm Hatch are collaborating on a new Green Hydrogen Consortium aiming to accelerate the production of renewable hydrogen.

The companies said the objective was to help remove obstacles to the adoption of green hydrogen technologies and encourage innovation in the sector.

According to the consortium, green hydrogen is produced using electrolysis powered by renewable energy, as opposed to the traditional method of hydrogen production, which uses carbon-intensive methods to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

“At this stage, green hydrogen is costly, technically challenging and can be hazardous,” the companies said.

“As a consortium, the group of heavy industry participants hope to reduce costs and increase technical capabilities through scale and shared learnings.

“Hydrogen’s many different applications make it an ideal technology to collaborate on and, through collaboration and innovation, the group hopes to accelerate cost reductions and technology readiness of green hydrogen and work through some of the current challenges to try to solve or eliminate them.”

The consortium will provide a mechanism for suppliers and operators to contribute to a range of development activities, including research, supply chain development and technology pilots.

Activities for the Green Hydrogen Consortium will be based in Western Australia (WA). The WA government have praised the companies for the new project.

Minister for regional development Alannah MacTiernan said: “We welcome this industry collaboration to help decarbonise mining operations and cement WA’s place on the world stage as a green hydrogen innovator and producer.

“Green hydrogen provides a real opportunity to reduce diesel consumption and decarbonise mine site operations, with potential for fuel cells to power fixed and mobile plants, mining vehicles and feedstock.”