Australia’s first commercial-scale green hydrogen refuelling station is being developed on a site in Melbourne’s west and backers say it will be the first in a network to power vehicles all the way to Sydney.
The $10 million project in Truganina will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, says Hydrogen Fuels Australia, the company developing it. The refuelling station will have an on-site 600-kilowatt solar array and tanks to collect rainwater that will be used to produce the hydrogen. The entire project will be off-grid except for a sewage connection.
The water and heat created as a byproduct of the process will be used to grow produce in a greenhouse.
Hydrogen Fuels Australia managing director Francesco Ceravolo, who has an engineering background in large energy projects including Basslink, said the falling price of renewable electricity meant green hydrogen represented an opportunity.
“Right now it’s not about price; it’s to meet environmental targets,” he said. “The market is not there yet – we are building the market. There’s definitely an appetite for green hydrogen, but we need to have the infrastructure.”
Hydrogen Fuels Australia has bought an electrolyser from Denmark and hydrogen dispenser from Sweden, which will create the hydrogen at the Truganina site. It expects to start producing small amounts of hydrogen in the third quarter of next year.
There is a growing interest in the role of hydrogen, which burns cleanly and emits only water, in decarbonising the transport industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It is created via electrolysis, a process that uses an electrolyser to send an electric current through water to split the “H₂” from the “O”. When renewable energy is used to power the electrolyser, the end product is emissions-free.