Victorian based bus manufacturer Volgren is to build its first hydrogen fuel cell electric bus at its Dandenong headquarters after receiving backing from the state government’s Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund.
Volgren expects to finalise a prototype for demonstration and on-road testing for the hydrogen fuel cell bus by the middle of 2023. Negotiations are also already underway with a suitable chassis OEM.
“Volgren has always been at the vanguard of adopting new technologies,” said Thiago Deiro, CEO of Volgren. “We’ve proven that with the development of our Battery Electric Buses (pictured above) and now we have the opportunity to do the same with our first hydrogen prototype.
Volgren says development of prototype hydrogen fuel cell buses will enable the company to design the hydrogen-powered bus for local conditions while also working towards a continuous production of hydrogen vehicles.
“By creating local manufacturing capabilities, you reduce the dependency of importing full hydrogen buses,” said Deiro. “You also develop the local supply chain and the training needed to service and maintain hydrogen technology.
“It also means operators and governments can be confident that their vehicle will be on the road for 15 years or more.”
A key aspect of the development process will be ensuring safety requirements are met for flammable gasses, high voltage systems, and battery storage systems.
Also benefiting from the Victorian government’s Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund are Air Liquide and Energys Australia, who will develop hydrogen production facilities for transport.
Boundary Power will develop a solar-renewable hydrogen standalone power system, which will convert solar power into hydrogen and use that hydrogen to generate electricity during power outages or in remote, off-grid areas.
Australian telecommunications giant Telstra also received funding to deploy a renewable hydrogen fuel cell generator at regional mobile communication sites which will strengthen the grid and decrease reliance on fossil fuel generators.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.