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Australia’s first hydrogen fuel station opens in Canberra

ACT green agenda progresses with Australia’s first public hydrogen fuel station in Fyshwick

29 Mar 2021

FOLLOWING the implementation of a National Hydrogen Strategy in late 2019, Australia’s first public hydrogen refuelling station has opened to the public in Fyshwick – 10km from Canberra’s CBD.

 

Timed to coincide with the introduction of 20 hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) destined for the ACT government, the ENGV-run facility represents a first step towards Australia transitioning to hydrogen power for its vast transport vehicle fleet.

 

Formerly an LPG/CNG station, the Fyshwick site will soon decommission those pumps and completely switch over to hydrogen, which is produced at the facility.

 

A series of tanks collect rainwater that is fed into a de-ioniser to purify it. The station’s deioniser currently only uses one stack for this process but is designed to take three – all of the expansion internal.

 

Similarly, the station is future proofed to easily triple its electrolyser capacity and double its hydrogen storage. All the gas is stored in stainless-steel containers to keep it as pure as possible, which is crucial in maintaining the range and effectiveness of a fuel cell.

 

Fortuitously, the roof of the station had already been built to accept the height of trucks and buses, and in terms of a strategic location, it is bordered by Australia Post, StarTrack Express, a bus depot and a train line.

 

With ideal future uses of hydrogen being to fuel trucks, buses, forklifts, trains, ships, emergency power and even drones, the multitude of partners invested in Canberra’s new hydrogen station describe it as “the best hydrogen fuelling site in Australia,” at least for now.

 

Currently free for a year in the ACT, every state in Australia now has a hydrogen fuelling strategy and Queensland can actually boast the world’s first ‘hydrogen minister’ in its state government.

 

Given the vast export potential this clean energy possesses, the proliferation of hydrogen stations across Australia is more a matter of “when” rather than “if”.

 

An oil company estimated that it would only take 92 hydrogen filling stations across the country to service 80 per cent of Australia’s 25-million population.

 

In terms of the lifecycle of a hydrogen-fed vehicle, Hyundai’s Nexo SUV has a sign on its fuel flap stating its tanks need to be replaced in 20 years’ time. As for distance, a hydrogen tank lasts for 10,000 cycles, which is 6.66 million kilometres in a Nexo.

 

In contrast, Consumer Reports in the US estimates the average life of a modern lithium-ion battery in an EV to be around 320,000km, which is 16 years of use if you travel 20,000km a year.


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