Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has entered into an agreement to acquire Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) to accelerate innovation in the green energy space. The company says its £164 million (Rs 1,494 crore) investment means Fortescue and FFI will acquire critical capabilities needed to help decarbonise this industry world-wide utilising FFI’s green electricity, green hydrogen and ammonia which contains zero carbon.
WAE, an offshoot from the Williams F1 team founded by late Sir Frank Williams, is a world-leading technology and engineering business renowned for its ground-breaking projects in high-performance battery systems and electrification.
The company says the acquisition will bring together leading thinkers and engineers into one organisation to drive progress and combat climate change, enabling Fortescue to become a major player in the growing global market for green industrial transport equipment.
WAE will bring its race-bred critical battery technology to FFI, which will in turn enable Fortescue, one of the largest iron ore producers in the world and a heavy carbon emitter, to realise its 2030 net-zero target. This will be achieved by working together to help bring green energy to life in programmes such as Fortescue’s 3km long freight trains, 400-tonne haul trucks and industrial heavy mobile equipment.
As per estimates, the heavy industrial sector accounts for more than 20 percent of global carbon emissions.
Dr Andrew Forrest AO, founder and chairman, Fortescue Group said, “This is the race of our lifetimes - the race to save the planet from cooking. The speed at which we move matters. Together FFI and WAE will work to decarbonise Fortescue – with the aim of achieving that faster and more effectively than anyone else in the world. This announcement is the key to unlocking the formula for removing fossil fuel powered machinery and replacing it with zero carbon emission technology, powered by FFI green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia.”
Claire Williams OBE, former deputy team principal of the Williams F1 Racing Team said “Since the team sold a majority shareholding in WAE to EMK Capital a couple of years ago, EMK and the Management Team have done a fantastic job in taking the business forward. We are delighted that Fortescue are now taking over that mantle and see the value in the company and its people in tackling some of the biggest issues facing our world today. I am sure that they will continue to drive considerable success through the business and achieve further results in decarbonising heavy industry and tackling the issue of global warming.”
Craig Wilson, CEO, WAE said, “High performance battery and electrification systems are at the core of what we do at WAE, and this acquisition and investment will enable the company’s further growth to support the delivery of zero emission products and services across existing sectors – such as automotive, motorsport and off-highway – and new sectors too. This will benefit all of our stakeholders along with current and future customers who are very important to us. We are delighted to play a key role in Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy, contributing to the delivery of their emissions reduction targets through high performance battery systems, green hydrogen and related technologies. We will also be focusing on addressing the sector-wide challenges in the off-highway sector. Both companies have a shared culture of innovation, setting and achieving challenging objectives and a genuine commitment to creating a sustainable future.”
Elizabeth Gaines, CEO, Fortescue Chief Executive Officer said, “Fortescue and WAE share strong cultural alignment with a focus on technology and innovation to support carbon neutrality, both companies being leaders in their respective industries. We have been working with WAE since early 2021, with WAE designing and building a battery system to power an electric mining haul truck; an important first step in the decarbonisation of Fortescue's mining haul fleet. WAE’s expertise in battery systems and electrification further complements FFI’s green hydrogen projects for haul trucks and mobile fleet to further underpin our technical leadership,”
Julie Shuttleworth AM, CEO, FFI, said, “The acquisition of WAE adds cutting edge technology, intellectual property and engineering capabilities to support and accelerate FFI’s Green Fleet technology pathway. Under Fortescue’s ownership, WAE will continue to service its customers while rapidly expanding its battery and electrification technologies, engineering and manufacturing offerings. Rapid growth of WAE’s world-leading technology and engineering business and an expansion of its manufacturing footprint further enhances FFI’s position to become a major player in the global market for decarbonisation of the global heavy industry sector.”
Together FFI and WAE will work together to help achieve the goal to make zero-emissions energy available at an industrial, global scale as we become the world’s best, fully renewable energy and green products company.