13 January 2020

Plans lodged for hydrogen fuel station in Fyshwick

| Ian Bushnell
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Announcement of the hydrogen fuelling station

Neoen Australia Deputy CEO Romain Desrousseaux, ActewAGL CEO John Knox and Minister for Climate Change Shane Rattenbury at ActewAGL’s CNG site in Fyshwick last May announcing plans for the hydrogen refuelling station. Photo: Supplied.

The first step in what could be Australia’s hydrogen fuel revolution is being taken in Fyshwick by local energy provider ActewAGL and its partner, French renewable energy company Neoen.

ActewAGL has lodged plans for the first refuelling centre of its kind in Australia to be built at its compressed natural gas (CNG) station in Mildura Street.

The new hydrogen facility will augment the CNG facility and service a new fleet of 20 Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the ACT Government as part of its commitment to sustainable energy sources and technologies.

But the new facility, which will cost $2.8 million, will also be available to the public, making Canberra the first Australian city to have such a service.

Hydrogen vehicles are emissions-free, compared to a standard petrol vehicle, which emits about 4600 kg of carbon a year on average.

The site of the hydrogen refuelling station

The site of the hydrogen refuelling station. Photo: Supplied.

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.

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.

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

When all of the ACT’s electricity is sourced from renewable generation after 2020, transport will account for 60 per cent of remaining emissions. To help reduce the transport emissions, the government is committed to having half of its passenger car fleet electric by 2019-20.

Neoen believes hydrogen is an exciting opportunity to decarbonise many other sectors of the Australian economy, and potentially foreign sectors as well, through the export of renewable hydrogen.

Late last year, energy ministers voted to adopt a National Hydrogen Strategy.

Hyundai Next

The Hyundai Nexo. Photo: Wikipedia

In Fyshwick, the hydrogen fuel will be delivered through an additional dispenser located under the existing canopy.

ActewAGL says the proposed addition of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure on the site is in keeping with the current usage and zoning of the site, and environmental impacts will be low.

The Crown lease will need to be varied to add ‘municipal depot’ as a permitted use.

The DA says that a hydrogen facility is similar to a conventional petrol station, but it generates fuel (through electrolysis) and stores the product on site, eliminating the need to transport fuel to the site.

The upgrade will require the installation of a new electrolyser, compressor, purifier, cooling units and storage facilities.

The proposed site works include the construction of six new concrete slabs, a block wall infill and extensions and modifications to the existing gates and site security fencing.

Small areas of existing soft landscaping will be reclaimed for the construction of the concrete slabs. Two trees are proposed to be removed as part of the works. All other trees near the works will be protected.

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Capital Retro6:30 pm 09 Feb 20

“Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) manager of future mobility & government relations Scott Nargar told Drive that the first hydrogen bowser is expected in the Australian Capital Territory from 2019 with an expected price of $10 to $16 per kilogram – or $60 to $90 per tank.Oct 22, 2018”

That equates to $128 for 8kg at $16 per kg. That’s not cheap compared to a diesel over the same distance.

Capital Retro10:32 am 17 Jan 20

“…..so a private company installs hydrogen refueling and it’s somehow about rates?”

I think ActewAGL are funding the project – they are submitting the DA anyhow so indirectly, Canberra ratepayers will be funding it as well as the overpriced government cars that will use it.

Capital Retro10:54 am 16 Jan 20

Why is an entity whose main purpose is to supply and maintain electricity and gas energy to homes and industry getting involved in this type of scheme at all? Isn’t this what they did with A Better Place (EV recharging network) and I don’t think that was a success.

They do a great job with the electricity delivery, and when I had gas 30 years ago there were no problems with that either.

Really, how many people are there who will be able to afford a hydrogen powered car?

A mention of “”the new facility, which will cost $2.8 million””.
How much are we ( the ratepayer ) helping through ‘our’ ACTEW to cover this 2.8 million fuel station cost ?

HiddenDragon8:00 pm 15 Jan 20

But will it accept fuel discount vouchers from Woollies and Coles……..?

Somewhat more seriously, it’s probably just as well it’s going into (officially) non-residential Fyshwick –


This is what irks me about the climate change nonsense – build a hydrogen facility and people whinge about it. Heres a radical thought – if climate change truly was an emergency ( its not…), why arent greenies falling over themselves to create power via nuclear? No emissions, electric cars for all…..or better…v8 vehicles running H2 and not petrol….

96% of Hydrogen fuel is generated from carbon based energy, so I hope the ACT Government is sourcing Green Hydrogen not energy inefficient fuel??????

I hope this isn’t just a fake green energy commitment, where the carbon emissions of generating the Hydrogen fall on someone else’s balance sheet.

It would be good if we could clarify the answer. I will definitely support this initiative if it’s really Green.

Unfortunately Rome wasn’t built in a day so one step at a time. Yes over time I’m sure Australia they will build up the infrastructure to produce Hydrogen from clean energy, but for now it is early days so it is a significant step to just get a Hydrogen refueling station in the Canberra district making Hydrogen fuel Cell vehicles closer to being a viable option for ACT residents.

Actually, after reading the article more closely, it appears they plan to produce the Hydrogen using an onsite electrolyser which infers to me they will be using electricity to split water into Hydrogen and Oxygen onsite. This is significantly cleaner than using natural gas to produce Hydrogen, so I’m impressed.

The article literally says the hydrogen will be made through electrolysis, why on earth would you think it comes from fossil fuels when the ACT’s electricity is coming from an equivalent amount of renewable energy.

Your 96% figure is for global production which mostly comes from using natural gas as a source because it’s so plentiful.

It’s clearly not what is being proposed here.

You’re missing the point once again. This is the issue I’m getting at. The actual electricity in Canberra isn’t actually 100% renewable its primarily from Coal generators.

It is 100% equivalent carbon free on paper but that’s actually for energy produced for South Australia for example.

If the actual Hydrogen that’s made at the plant is Carbon free than its great, but if it’s inefficiently being made by coal fired stations than that’s not great.

No you’re missing the point or deliberately ignoring how the national energy market and grid works.

Whether you agree with the government’s policies or not, they are buying the equivalent usage of the energy requirements of the ACT in renewable energy. We have a national energy grid so it makes zero difference whether the ACT is in fact at any one moment using electricity produced by a coal or other fossil fuel generator.

Does the national market currently rely heavily on coal power stations? Yes.

Could every state or territory do what the ACT has done at present with buying 100% renewable energy, with the same availability and reliability that we currently have? No.

But the only way that changes is with a solid federal government policy direction and framework that allows efficient investment in new generation assets transitioning away from coal over the next few decades to allow others to to what we’ve already done.

Yes we both agree on how the renewable energy market works in the ACT.

You continually miss my point. The Hydrogen being generated at the Fyshwick plant isn’t actually coming from Green energy.

Purchasing green powered Hydrogen directly from a supplier would be much better than this approach being taken in Fyshwick. This project doesn’t stack up as being Green, but it could if it was done the right way.

What part of a national electricity market don’t you get?

If we provide the equivalent amount of renewable energy into the grid as we use, the energy used by us IS renewable. We are paying for it, we input it into the grid an equivalent amount of energy is therefore not needed to be provided by other generators.

It’s really not that hard to understand.

You don’t actually have a point, you clearly either don’t understand how the electricity market works or are being deliberately obtuse.

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