ARENA to fund hydrogen service station

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide $22.8 million to Viva Energy Group to develop, build and operate the New Energies Service Station located in Geelong, Victoria, to support the uptake of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in heavy fleets.

The project will be built opposite Viva Energy’s petroleum refinery (pictured above) and incorporate a 2 MW electrolyser, along with hydrogen compression, storage and dispensing infrastructure. The service station will also include 150 kW electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities.

ARENA’s funding will also subsidise the purchase and operations of 15 hydrogen FCEVs to help fast-track FCEV uptake, which will be paid upon the delivery of the vehicles.

Viva Energy’s $43.3 million project will allow procurement, delivery and operation of the hydrogen FCEVs to utilise renewable hydrogen from the service station. Over time, the company hopes to add traditional diesel refuelling on-site to allow drivers to witness FCEV charging.

All vehicles will be purchased and owned by project partners. Toll Group, ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia, Cleanaway and Barwon Water have committed to purchasing hydrogen FCEVs for their fleets, which include prime movers, wastewater and municipal waste collection vehicles and buses.

Locating the project adjacent to Viva Energy’s Geelong refinery provides a number of benefits to the project, including a high level of visibility, due to its proximity to major arterial roads and location within an existing industrial area. The service station also has access to high voltage infrastructure and access to recycled water from the nearby Barwon Water recycling plant for production of hydrogen.

ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said the project will help to accelerate the commercialisation pathways for FCEV fleets in Australia.

“We’re excited to be working with Viva Energy to build Australia’s first publicly available hydrogen refuelling station to independent fleets.

“The experiences of Viva Energy and fleet vehicles using the renewable hydrogen produced onsite for refuelling will provide valuable insights into the operation of different types of hydrogen FCEV heavy vehicles.

“This project will be a key opportunity for early uptake of commercially viable hydrogen and a service station model that could be replicated across Australia as the price of electrolyser technology drops,” said Miller.

Viva Energy CEO, Scott Wyatt, said the funding will allow the company to work with long-term customers to demonstrate the important role that hydrogen will play in the future of transportation in Australia. “This project puts hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road to prove their value in day-to-day commercial operations while reducing the carbon footprint of the heavy vehicle transport we rely on every day,” added Wyatt.

ARENA said it has previously funded light vehicle hydrogen FCEV projects with Toyota to build refuelling infrastructure at their re-purposed Altona car manufacturing site to support passenger vehicles and forklifts, and BOC, which will install a hydrogen refuelling station in Brisbane for passenger fleets. The agency is also supporting Ark Energy to deploy five FCEV prime movers operating between its zinc refinery and the Port of Townsville.

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