Pilot hydrogen refuelling station opens in Redlands

Queensland’s first hydrogen refuelling station has opened in Redlands, with one of the state’s first hydrogen cars receiving a tank of fuel created from Queensland resources.

Sunshine Coast business H2H Energy built the bowser at the Department of Agriculture’s Redlands research facility, which is also a base for researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The fueling station is one of three in Australia, with the others located in Canberra and Victoria. The station is a large metallic box with a bowser hose linked to large hydrogen cylinders.

The Hyundai Nexo SUV is one of five hydrogen-fueled vehicles added to the state’s fleet of 60 zero-emission cars, with a further 84 on their way. Costing about 13 cents per kilometre to run, the vehicle refuelling cost is similar to that of a petrol-based vehicle.

Three 2kg cylinders are located in the boot of the car, with the hydrogen from the tanks mixing with oxygen to create the electricity for the vehicle’s engine, which is at the front under the bonnet.

Hydrogen Minister Mick de Brenni said the energy and cost statistics would improve as inroads were made into refining the emerging technology.

“The technology with the state government’s partnering, means we are grabbing the very best hydrogen technology from all over the world and bringing it here,” he said.

“The more hydrogen we are able to see into the supply chain through vehicles such as this, the more we can continue to expand renewable energy.

“Queensland has what it takes to produce renewable hydrogen at scale, which is why we’re investing in new technology as part of our COVID-19 economic recovery plan.”

At first, freight vehicles such as trains and trucks would be the biggest beneficiaries, as running on hydrogen would allow them to use renewable energy without having to pack massive, heavy batteries.

However, the state would partner with the federal government and investors to provide incentives to motorists to purchase the new technology when it is rolled out on a large scale.

Currently, a state hydrogen and renewables incentives policy is being drafted to encourage consumers interest in hydrogen cars, which have no carbon emissions and only one by-product – water.

With continued support from organisations such as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and research bodies such as QUT, the rollout is expected to speed up this year.

QUT’s Institute for Future Environments Executive Director Professor Ian Mackinnon said that South Korea already has plans to ramp up the production of hydrogen cars to 80,000 per year by 2023.

“That will definitely help bring down the price, which will fuel demand,” he said.

“But for Australia, the big issue at the moment is how many refuelling stations can we put in at the right time with appropriate safety regulations.”

Professor Mackinnon claims that the hydrogen industry in Queensland will not stop with cars, saying the state possesses the smarts, technology, and resources to build refuelling stations, along with tapping the hydrogen for export. He continued saying that hydrogen stations would be built along the state’s electric superhighway, with the rollout taking less than two years.

QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil said QUT would be leading the way to produce renewable hydrogen to refuel hydrogen cars.

Source: The Courier Mail | Sunshine state powers on with hydrogen car refuelling station

27 July 2021

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