Australia may see a rapid expansion of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, with a new partnership that will see green hydrogen for heavy vehicles situated alongside EV charging stations across Australia.
Hydrogen project developer Infinite Blue Energy says it will partner with electric vehicle charging provider NewVolt to integrate hydrogen refuelling stations at the EV charging sites.
The network has up to 17 locations planned for its first phase, starting with refuelling locations in Wodonga and Newcastle, with the roll-out to be extended to most capital cities across Australia’s east coast.
Eventually, the partnership will aim to provide refuelling and charging sites in Western Australia, with coverage from Perth to Port Hedland.
The initial network will target major heavy freight and transport corridors across Australia, delivering rapid charging or hydrogen refuelling using renewable energy sources.
Availability of refuelling infrastructure has been a significant barrier to the wider adoption of hydrogen fuelled vehicles, and Infinite Blue Energy hopes the new partnership will help to kick-start the roll out of hydrogen infrastructure across Australia.
“Green Hydrogen is the most innovative solution for decarbonising heavy transport given Australia’s vast geography, and we are delighted to be partnering with NewVolt in establishing fuelling facilities around Australia,” Infinite Blue Energy chief executive officer Stephen Gauld said.
“The lack of sufficient quantities of green hydrogen has been a major barrier for businesses to transition away from diesel, and IBE is seen as the key to breaking this barrier.”
“[Infinite Blue Energy] will be rolling out initial fuel stations as part of its market commitments for initial heavy vehicles in Western Australia, this is planned for late 2021 pending regulator approvals. The expansion of the NewVolt & Infinite Blue Energy Network is planned to be in place during 2023 where combined electric charging and hydrogen will be available.”
Managing director of NewVolt, Greg Politakis, said that it made sense to integrate the roll-out EV charging infrastructure together with hydrogen refuelling services.
“Given our abundant renewable energy resources, Australia has the opportunity to be a global leader in the energy transition within the transport sector. And as a country we also have plenty of strategic reasons to shift our logistics industry, and economy more generally, away from dependence on price volatile imported diesel,” Politakis said.
“We see this collaboration as providing an important message to industry that the infrastructure will be in place in Australia so the transport industry can start planning for and making investment decisions in relation to electric and hydrogen vehicles.”
Both renewable hydrogen fuelled vehicles and electric vehicles provide an opportunity to cut emissions in Australia’s transport sector, that have otherwise provide elusive.
However, one of the main drivers of increased adoption, particularly for fleet managers, are the lower operating and maintenance costs that can be achieve by switching to alternatives to ICE vehicles.
“Many fleet operators and transport end users already understand the business case benefits that battery electric and fuel cell vehicles will deliver given the low cost energy that can be delivered through renewables in Australia. The benefits also include lower maintenance costs and fuel price certainty not to mention the air quality benefits of zero emissions vehicles for drivers and the communities within which the vehicles operate,” Politakis added.
Infinite Blue Energy has previously announced that it had secured $300 million in financing to establish a renewable hydrogen production facility in the Western Australian town of Dongara.
The project is expected to produce up to 25 tonnes of green hydrogen each day, powered by wind and solar, and may be used to supply the hydrogen refuelling facilities.