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Australian billionaire sets up global green hydrogen organisation

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MELBOURNE, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest on Thursday launched a green hydrogen organisation, GH2, in a push to speed up development of the clean fuel to help curb global warming.

GH2’s goal is to ensure that by 2050 a quarter of the world’s energy comes from green hydrogen, which is extracted from water with electrolysis, an energy-intensive but carbon-free process if powered by renewable electricity.

Forrest has ambitious plans for the iron ore company he founded, Fortescue Metals Group, to diversify into renewable energy, betting on green hydrogen as a major new business.

“Green hydrogen is, in a way, the sleeping giant of the energy transition, and I believe will have a bigger impact on tackling climate change than any other technology,” Forrest said in a GH2 launch statement.

GH2, to be chaired by former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, aims to bring together governments and development institutions to step up support for green hydorgen production and use in emerging markets.

It also aims to rope in the private sector and governments to publish demand forecasts, gather data on projects and set accreditation standards for the nascent industry to ensure that green hydrogen production involves close to zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Fortescue Future Industries aims to produce 15 million tonnes a year of green hydrogen by 2030, which it wants to use to help decarbonise heavy industry, such as steel making.

GH2 wants to make sure that governments don’t promote grey hydrogen, which is extracted using natural gas, or blue hydrogen, which is produced from gas with the carbon dioxide emitted in the process captured and stored.

“Too many of the national hydrogen policies and hydrogen association overlook the fact that hydrogen produced from fossil fuels will generally result in more CO2 emissions, not less,” Turnbull said in the GH2 launch document.

GH2 will have an international secretariat spread across London, Perth, Sydney and Geneva, where its chief executive Jonas Moberg is based.

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