Australia’s first clean hydrogen refuelling station has opened at ActewAGL’s existing CNG facility in Fyshwick. It will service the ACT Government’s new 20-strong fleet of Hyundai hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and be open to members of the public.
Canberrans will see ACT public servants on the road in the Hyundai Nexo hydrogen vehicles from Monday (29 March).
The government passenger fleet of 611 vehicles now includes 139 zero-emissions vehicles – 49 battery electric vehicles (BEVs), 70 plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and the 20 Hyundai Nexo fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). The fleet will transition to emissions-free as the ACT progresses to zero net emissions by 2045.
The refuelling station, to be operated by ActewAGL, and the 20 vehicles, were delivered as part of French renewable energy company Neoen’s contract with the ACT Government to supply electricity from the Hornsdale Wind Farm Stage 3.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said the opening was a major milestone in the roll-out of zero-emissions vehicles and adds further momentum to Canberra’s renewable energy innovation.
He said clean hydrogen, produced through electrolysis with 100 per cent renewably sourced electricity, and electric vehicles, were part of an emissions-free transport system, and the ACT would embrace both.
“This is not an either/or situation,” Mr Rattenbury said.
He said hydrogen tended to be used in larger vehicles and had applications in ships and trains, while EVs tended to dominate the passenger sedan market.
“We’ll see applications of both,” he said. “These are the first 20 hydrogen cars registered in Australia.
“Hyundai sold more than 10,000 vehicles in Korea last year, so it gives an idea of the scale that’s possible.”
Mr Rattenbury said more refuelling stations need to be built so it’s more convenient and there is extra capacity, just as the ACT is building more EV charging stations.
Hydrogen vehicles use a fuel cell stack to create electricity which drives the vehicle’s electric motor. A fuel cell stack uses stored hydrogen, mixes it with oxygen and creates electricity – the only by-product is water.
The process effectively makes the hydrogen vehicles mobile air filters, helping to remove harmful particulates produced by petrol and diesel vehicles from the air.
As well as providing fuel for the government fleet and the public, the Fyshwick project will help industry players understand the long-term operating costs of hydrogen refuelling stations.
ActewAGL CEO John Knox said the station was an important step in the ACT’s transition to zero emissions and it was vital to keep all options open.
“It’s not about picking winners. Today is about giving optionality,” he said.
“If we have further investment in the hydrogen industry in Canberra, I am absolutely confident that will it play a larger role in decarbonising both the transport and energy sector.”
The hydrogen fuel manufactured on-site will be delivered through an additional dispenser located under the existing canopy at the Fyshwick station.
A new electrolyser, compressor, purifier, cooling units and storage facilities, as well as six new concrete slabs, a block wall infill and extensions and modifications to the existing gates and site security fencing, were installed at a cost of $2.8 million.