Canberra to host Australia’s first hydrogen vehicle refueling station

Australia’s first publicly-available hydrogen vehicle refueling station will open in Canberra at the end of 2019.

The facility, a joint project between local utility ACTEWAGL and the French renewable energy company Neoen, is under construction in the industrial suburb of Fyshwick and due to begin operations in December.

“Tackling climate change means tackling transport pollution, and zero-emission vehicle technology is a key part of this,” ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury MLA, said.

“By 2020 the ACT will be powered by 100% renewable electricity, meaning our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions – at over 60% – will come from transport.”

Neoen Australia Managing Director, Franck Woitiez, said his company was 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.”

In a 2018 COAG White Paper, Australia’s Chief Scientist said Australia could “feasibly be exporting about 137,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year by 2025”, most likely to South Korea, Japan and China, which are intent on creating hydrogen economies.

So far, only South Korea’s Hyundai has a hydrogen-powered passenger vehicle for the Australian market, the Nexo. Neoen will fund 20 for the ACT Government.

Toyota, meanwhile, has been loaning its Mirai fuel cell passenger vehicle to various local governments and companies in Victoria, to showcase the vehicle’s potential.

It uses a mobile hydrogen refueling facility at Toyota’s former factory in Altona, while a $7.4m commercial grade facility is under construction.