More and more countries worldwide are speeding up their adoption of renewable energy vehicles, and Australia is certainly no exception. However, most news coverage on the matter tends to focus almost exclusively on electric and hybrid cars. Progress in other areas like hydrogen fuel adoption often goes unreported.
That’s a terrible shame, considering how fast the hydrogen fuel movement is growing in Australia. That growth should come as no surprise, as Australia launched its National Hydrogen Strategy in November of 2019. Since then, many Australian states and territories have been pushing forward in many ways, ranging from hydrogen fuel production to building hydrogen refuelling stations.
Two excellent examples of the movement’s Aussie growth are Canberra and Victoria, which have chosen to adopt hydrogen fuel at the state level, making them fantastic examples for the rest of the country to emulate.
Canberra ’s Hydrogen Push
Just recently, Canberra became the site of Australia’s very first hydrogen refuelling station. Located just 10 km away from the central business district over in Fyshwick, that station is the first to be opened to the public for regular retail purchases of hydrogen fuel.
Canberra Government’s Fleet of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars
The timing of the launch couldn't be better. It seems that the launch was deliberately timed to coincide with the local government's purchase of some 20 hydrogen-fueled vehicles. To be specific, the Canberra government just bought 20 Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell electric vehicles powered by, you guessed it, hydrogen!
Besides the launch’s strategic timing, it’s also clear that a lot of thought was put into selecting the location for the hydrogen refuelling station. The site itself is a repurposed LPG and CNG fuelling station, which is located near train, bus, and even mail/courier facilities.
Better yet, the station itself was built to accommodate taller and larger vehicles like trucks and buses.
Looking Towards the Future
Even though the hydrogen refuelling station might seem futuristic to most people right now, the station itself is already ahead by several steps. It was built to be future-proof, with plenty of space to expand its storage and electrolyser capacities when the need arises.
State officials stated their hopes that the refuelling station will make it possible for hydrogen vehicles to become more common on the road like battery-powered electric vehicles, all as part of Canberra's goals towards lowering the ACT's CO2 emissions.
Hydrogen Fuel Advances in Victoria
Still, Canberra isn’t the only place where the hydrogen fuel movement is gaining serious traction. Over in Victoria, Toyota has just unveiled the state’s first facility that produces and refuels hydrogen!
Toyota’s Hydrogen Centre
Toyota’s Hydrogen Centre does its part for reusable energy by relying on solar power for its electricity supply.
The plan here is for the facility to produce hydrogen while simultaneously refuelling commercial and passenger vehicles. That includes cars like the Mirai and the previously-mentioned Nexo by Hyundai.
Clearly, this was a meeting of two institutions with similar goals in mind. The Victorian state government and Toyota have proven their dedication to the hydrogen cause with these efforts.
The Victorian Hydrogen Hub (VH2)
The Victorian Government has also invested $10 million towards another project, known as the Victorian Hydrogen Hub or VH2. This hub is set to do much more than just act as a hydrogen refuelling station. Well beyond that, the hub will primarily serve as a focal point to explore and develop new hydrogen technologies.
The hub’s site is set to be on the campus of CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. The hub’s vision is to bring together various stakeholders, including researchers and partners in the industry.
Part of that stakeholder engagement will also include interacting with the local community to encourage hydrogen adoption as an alternative form of energy.
Even before the hub becomes operational, it’s set to contribute to the local economy by creating 8,000 jobs. Once complete, it’s estimated to produce $11 billion a year in terms of GDP.
Some Quick Facts about Hydrogen Fuel
The two examples explained above are part of a much larger picture, where Australia aims to lead the way to adopt hydrogen fuel. Here are a few quick-fire tips to know about hydrogen fuel:
- Hydrogen is an alternative fuel that is in great abundance worldwide.
- Fuel cells, like the ones used in FCEVs, are much cleaner than using battery arrays.
- Hydrogen fuel cell technology has a wide range of application aside from automobiles use, and they're even a viable alternative for powering trucks.
To learn more about Australia’s green agenda surrounding hydrogen fuel and news about the Aussie automotive industry, check out the blog at Carpart.com.au. We come out with daily updates to keep you well-informed about the automotive world, not only in Australia but around the world!
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By Ray Hasbollah