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Government to add hydrogen cars to fleet as Australia-first refuelling station confirmed

Ian Bushnell 9 May 2019 22
pilot hydrogen refuelling station

Deputy CEO Neoen Australia, Romain Desrousseaux, ActewAGL CEO John Knox, and Minister for Climate Change Shane Rattenbury at the Fyshwick site for the pilot hydrogen refuelling station. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra will be the first Australian city to have a publicly available hydrogen vehicle refuelling station, to be built in Fyshwick by ActewAGL with the support of renewable energy generator Neoen.

The ACT Government will be the pilot station’s first customer, revealing at Wednesday’s announcement that it would also add 20 new Hyundai hydrogen emissions-free vehicles, funded by Neoen, to its fleet.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said the building of the station in Mildura Street was a momentous step towards the ACT’s transition to 100 per cent renewable energy and for the next generation of zero-emission transport.

“The ACT is a proud world leader in climate action. We’re on track to deliver 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020, and to achieve zero net emissions by 2045,” he said.

But transport, at over 60 per cent, will be the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions after 2020.

“Tackling climate change means tackling transport pollution, and zero-emission vehicle technology is a key part of this,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Being at the forefront of a potentially significant new industry for Australia also strengthens our position as a leader in energy innovation and helps us as we work towards our ambitious goal of zero net emissions by 2045.”

The Fyshwick project will help players understand the long-term operating costs of hydrogen refuelling stations.

ActewAGL CEO John Knox said he was delighted that ActewAGL had been chosen by Neoen to build and operate this landmark project just a short distance from Canberra’s CBD.

“This is an incredible opportunity to continue our exploration of the role hydrogen can play as an energy source of the future,” Mr Knox said.

“We look forward to welcoming the ACT Government as the first customer of the hydrogen refuelling station, and to examining how we might potentially use hydrogen more broadly as a clean-energy choice for the ACT.”

Deputy CEO of Neoen Australia Romain Desrousseaux said the company had a long and successful partnership with the ACT Government and would continue to support the Territory’s 100 per cent renewable energy target.

“This project also represents an important part of Neoen’s local investment commitment to the Territory as part of our Hornsdale Wind Farm project,” he said. ”

As a long-term investor in Australia’s renewable energy future, we believe hydrogen represents an exciting opportunity to decarbonise many other sectors of the economy — not only in Australia, but potentially overseas in the future through the export of renewable hydrogen.”

The station is due to be completed in December 2019, and will be available to any hydrogen vehicle driver, by agreement with ActewAGL.

The Fyshwick project will help players understand the long-term operating costs of hydrogen refuelling 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.

Hydrogen vehicles are emissions-free, in comparison to a standard petrol vehicle, which emits about 4600 kilograms of carbon a year.

Neoen is France’s leading independent producer of renewable energy and the leading independent producer of renewable energy in France, Australia, El Salvador, Jamaica and Zambia.


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22 Responses to
Government to add hydrogen cars to fleet as Australia-first refuelling station confirmed
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8:03 pm 10 May 19

I hope the government informed surrounding. Businesses. With this hazard

4:39 pm 10 May 19

Todd - Quick get those Hydrogen Mercs out of that museum and get them over here!

10:45 am 10 May 19

This will be interesting. How are they going to make the hydrogen? How are they going to store it? Did you know the energy density of H₂ is much lower than that of petrol?

Capital Retro 8:36 am 10 May 19

” the only by-product is water.”

Massive amounts of evil carbon dioxide are produced from converting methane to hydrogen.

It’s another one of those “emission free” lies.

    bikhet 9:33 am 10 May 19

    Depends how the hydrogen is generated. If it’s done by methane (or other hydrocarbon) reformation then yes, a heap of carbon dioxide is generated.

    If the hydrogen is generated by electrolysis of water, the only direct byproduct is oxygen. A lot of electricity is needed though and the generation of that electricity may generate carbon dioxide.

    How we generate the electricity needed to run a transport system on hydrogen without also generating lots of carbon dioxide is the question that needs to be answered.

maxblues 5:44 am 10 May 19

Why does the ACT govt need a fleet of vehicles? Surely they should all be catching public transport (and then they would fully understand the deficiencies in the network).

3:23 am 10 May 19

And it worked so well for the Hindenburg

liberalsocialist 9:27 pm 09 May 19

Wow. This is brilliant! This is really where future vehicle power should come from, not EV’s or Hybrids. Hopefully this works, and with a smallish city like Canberra it’s here that it has its best chance. Don’t know too many vehicles that are available to the public that run on Hydrogen though…

8:58 pm 09 May 19

And hydrogen is more expensive than LPG of which we export gigalitres.

3:56 pm 09 May 19

I think hydrogen is more suitable for Australia than electric cars. Electric cars are fine for cars that drive relatively short distances in cities and can be charged overnight at home, and never drive long distances in the country. They take too long to charge. Imagine needing to stop and charge a car every 200 or so kms, and then hope that a charging station is available and you don't have to wait for the car charging to be driven away (the car owner might even not be there, having taken a walk), and there is not a queue (as happens in petrol stations now) waiting ahead of you. Plus as electric cars at present often don't have the distance of a petrol car, that means more stops for all cars and potentially even longer queues. Away from home it might be necessary to wait hours just to get to a charging station, unless almost every parking spot was a charging station. That's a huge amount of infrastructure; far more than just the occasional petrol station. I have seen queues for a petrol station on the Stuart Highway in the outback, and they are large roadhouses. Imagine if those cars were all electric and needed time to charge!

The advantage of hydrogen is that it only takes the time that it takes to fill a car with petrol and can be accessed in a fuel station, as petrol is at present. It can be made by solar and wind power and stored.

3:32 pm 09 May 19

Is this the cart before the horse?

12:29 pm 09 May 19

Hydrogen is also a useful way to store energy created by wind and solar farms.

11:44 am 09 May 19

I think it’s great that Canberra gets to be the first city to get one

Capital Retro 9:15 am 09 May 19

These cars cost over $60K each and the fuel is 3x the cost of petrol, so what’s the point?

    Tim Hough 11:39 am 09 May 19

    You can’t seriously expect a car with emerging fuel technology, with little in the way of competition, to be cheaper than petrol and diesel cars using technology refined over 100 years that have dozens of competing companies with dozens of models?

    Same goes for the fuel. You expect hydrogen fuel to be cheaper than petrol, even though this is first public hydrogen fuel station in Australia? There 6000+ petrol stations in the country, all with extensive back end supply infrastructure. It’s not apples and oranges, it’s apples and golf balls; not worth comparing!

    The point is that someone always has to go first to get things established. I applaud the ACT government in taking the lead here and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other local government following suit.

    Capital Retro 12:06 pm 09 May 19

    Remember this?: https://www.cnet.com/news/electric-car-startup-better-place-liquidating-after-850-million-investment/

    ActewAGL lost a lot of money on the “Better Place” dream and forgive me if I sound cynical but I see the same thing happening again.

    I don’t think I am the only ratepayer in the Territory who his tired of idealists wasting our money.

    JS9 1:09 pm 09 May 19

    It is Neoen, as the article states that is primarily funding it all. They are funding the cars for the fleet, and the article suggests that they chose ActewAGL to ‘build and operate’ the facility – which suggests they are also funding at least a large chunk of that. On that basis, where is the ratepayer money that is being wasted?

    As for your first comment, would you have said the same thing about the first automobiles when they were being proposed to replace the horse and cart?

    New technology needs to be tested and evaluated in terms of whether the technology can work. The price and fuel costs will sort themselves out in time if the technology works and is competitive.

    Maya123 3:44 pm 09 May 19

    “As for your first comment, would you have said the same thing about the first automobiles when they were being proposed to replace the horse and cart?”

    Capital Retro would likely have said the same thing about the first automobiles.

    Capital Retro 11:45 am 10 May 19

    If I did, I am sure you would have been there to hear me.

    Capital Retro 11:44 am 10 May 19

    This is exactly where the ratepayers money will be used/wasted:

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/act-leads-180m-investment-hydrogen-storage-car-fleet-33870/

    It would appear that the ACT government has already committed to spend $55 million on a hydrogen production plant.

    And your “horse and cart” reference is rather like me saying “there is no such thing as a free lunch”.

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