Iron ore billionaire and green hydrogen investor Andrew Forrest and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have once again slammed the promoters of fossil fuel hydrogen projects, including describing them as “liars.”

The accusations came at the Green Hydrogen Global Assembly in Barcelona last week, at which Forrest’s Fortescue Future Industries reportedly sent a team of more than 50, including Forrest – who led many sessions and hosted a reception – and Turnbull, an advisor to FFI.

Forrest has set an extraordinarily ambitious target of producing 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen a year.

But even those ambitions were put in the shade by the new global target of 100 million tonnes a year announced at the conference opening by Turnbull, who is the chair of the Green Hydrogen Organisation (GH2).

The world’s current production of green hydrogen amounts to just 100,000 tonnes a year, so this is a 100 fold increase in just years, a target that would require at least 1,400GW of new renewables capacity, according to Australia’s CWP Global.

Kobad Bhavnagri, from BloombergNEF, says such a target would require a doubling of capacity every year for nine years. But it is already happening, hydrogen electrolyser manufacturing capacity is expected to jump 20-fold to 37GW per year by 2024.

Bhavnagri also said “blue hydrogen”, created from gas, could become a “white elephant” within five years. “Gas would need to be sold at negative cost to make it cost competitive with green,” he said.

Right now, blue hydrogen is exactly where most government funding – including in Australia – is going, to what is dubiously also called “clean hydrogen”.

Essentially, it is fossil fuelled hydrogen that claims emissions abatement through carbon capture and storage. Forrest and Turnbull say it is nonsense.

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