Victoria’s Deakin University has announced a new research centre in Warrnambool, in the state’s south-west, set to develop hydrogen fuel-cells that can work in tandem with electric vehicle technologies to create clean and quiet trucks that do not need to make frequent recharging stops.
Deakin University announced this week that the new Hydrogen Transition Centre will be created at its Warrnambool campus, a first step on the road to establishing a $20 million HyceL Warrnambool research and industry testing site.
The new Hydrogen Transition Centre is being funded in part by a $2 million grant from the Federal Government to support research and will test how hydrogen fuel-cells can work in tandem with electric vehicle technologies.
The hope is to create electric trucks which can create power while they drive – avoiding the need for repeated stops to recharge their batteries.
“The centre will partner with industry to apply Deakin University’s world-leading capabilities to solve one of our toughest transport issues: how to fuel the world’s trucking industries in a low carbon future,” said Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin.
“Freight trucking continues to grow here and overseas, and trucks are driving further, with heavier loads; all big challenges.
The centre confirms Deakin’s commitment to the Warrnambool campus and the broader region, and when the HyceL Warrnambool project is fully established it will create up to 200 full-time jobs.”
To begin with, the new Hydrogen Transition Centre will support up to 12 jobs.
The Federal Government’s funding grant was announced at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus by the Minister for Education, The Hon Dan Tehan MP.
“The Federal Government investment will see our researchers partner with Australia’s leading truck manufacturer, Kenworth, as well as with industry leaders in hydrogen fuel-cells, electric vehicles and gas distribution,” Professor Martin said.
“If successful, the enhanced technologies could be used by Kenworth trucks made here in Australia, as well as those made internationally by Kenworth’s parent company PACCAR – a US Fortune 500 company.
The technologies can also be applied to other heavy vehicles, such as buses, including those operated by Warrnambool Bus Lines.”
Deakin University hopes the development of the new Hydrogen Transition Centre will position Warrnambool and the larger South-West region to tap into the world’s growing, multi-billion-dollar hydrogen market, and help the region to become an emerging renewable energy hot spot.
The move also taps into Warrnambool City Council’s ambitions of reaching carbon neutral status by 2040.
The South-West is already home to one of the biggest wind farms in Victoria, the 336 MW Dundonnell Wind Farm, located north-east of Mortlake, Victoria, close to Warrnambool, which is set to begin operations late-2020, after construction began earlier this year.