The mining behemoth owned by Australia’s richest man will purchase the Williams Formula One racing team’s battery and technology division for $222.2 million,.
Williams Advanced Engineering and Williams Grand Prix Engineering, both situated in the United Kingdom, will be purchased by Fortescue Metals from private equity firm EMK Capital.
The agreement aims to assist the iron ore miner in meeting its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
A battery train will be one of the first projects to be created.
“This announcement is the key to unlocking the formula for removing fossil-fuel powered machinery and replacing it with zero carbon emission technology,” Fortescue’s founder and chairman, Andrew Forrest, said in a statement.
Forrest is recognized for investing in sustainable energy initiatives and has an estimated net worth of more than $18 billion.
Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), based in Oxfordshire, will be integrated into Fortescue’s sustainable energy arm under the terms of the agreement.
WAE’s battery technology will be used to power WAE’s freight trains, heavy industrial equipment, and haulage trucks, according to the Perth-based miner.
Since early last year, Fortescue has been working on a prototype battery for heavy industrial use.
Forrest wants to turn the world’s fourth-largest iron ore producer into one of the world’s leading sustainable energy producers during the next decade.
WAE, which bills itself as “a world-leading technology and engineering enterprise,” was founded by the Williams Formula One team in 2010 to develop low-carbon vehicle technology.
EMK Capital, a private equity group, purchased a majority share in the company just over two years ago.
The step comes after the outgoing president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Formula One motor racing, Jean Todt, told the BBC that the sport would take decades to transition to electric, saying: “It’s simply not doable.”
“In Formula One, a race distance is about 200 miles (305km). Without recharging, with the performance of the cars, electricity will not allow that,” he added.
“Maybe in 20 years, 30 years, I don’t know. But at the moment it would be simply impossible.”
Separately, a company that plans to mass-produce electric car batteries in the UK received government support for its proposed factory in Northumberland last week.
Two years ago, Britishvolt revealed plans for a “gigafactory” near Cambois, claiming that it would create 3,000 employment.
According to rumors, the government has put £100 million into the Automotive Transformation Fund.
Tritax and Abrdn, two investors, have also expressed their support for Britishvolt, which is expected to unlock £1.7 billion in private capital.
(Adapted from BBC.com)