The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced it will give $22.8 million to Viva Energy Group to develop, build and operate what it’s calling the ‘New Energies Service Station.’ Featuring a 2 MW electrolyser, alongside hydrogen compression, storage and dispensing infrastructure, ARENA says the funds will help support the uptake of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in heavy fleets.
The service station, to be built opposite Viva Energy’s Geelong refinery, will also include 150 kW electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities.
Last year, Viva Energy announced its strategic alliance with hydrogen vehicle maker Hyzon, saying it would work with the US headquartered company, which has its roots in hydrogen fuel-cell technology, to deliver a complete turn-key hydrogen transport solution for Australia.
It seems Viva’s service station project, which is expected to cost a total of $43.3 million, is a continuation of this broader Geelong hydrogen and clean energy hub transition process.
The service station is also expecting in time to add traditional diesel refuelling on-site “to allow drivers to witness FCEV charging,” ARENA said.
The agency added that locating the project adjacent to the Geelong refinery provides a number of benefits, including a high level of visibility from its proximity to major arterial roads and its location within an existing industrial area. It also has access to high voltage infrastructure and to recycled water from the nearby Barwon Water recycling plant, which will be useful for the production of renewable hydrogen.
On top on that, ARENA’s $22 million that just keeps on giving will help subsidise the purchase and operations of 15 hydrogen FCEVs, it said.
Toll Group, ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia, Cleanaway and Barwon Water have all committed to purchasing hydrogen FCEVs for their fleets which include prime movers, wastewater and municipal waste collection vehicles and buses. These FCEVs will be owned by the companies, though ARENA said it will give its funding portion “upon the delivery of the vehicles.”
ARENA CEO Darren Miller described Viva’s New Energies Service Station as “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,” Miller added.
“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.”
ARENA has previously given $3.1 million in funding to support Toyota’s Hydrogen Centre which also has a green hydrogen refuelling centre feeding in from its 200 kW electrolyser. Like Viva’s project, it is also focussed on demonstrating the molecule’s potential in transport.
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