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Viva Energy to build hydrogen station in Geelong

Australia’s first publicly accessible commercial hydrogen refuelling station gets the green light

2 Mar 2022

VIVA ENERGY has announced that it will construct a $43.3-million New Energies Service Station in the Victorian city of Geelong.


The company says the new facility will be the catalyst for a network of similar facilities stretching from Geelong to Sydney and onto Brisbane when it commences operations in 2023.


Viva Energy says the facility will be Australia’s first publicly accessible commercial hydrogen refuelling station. The centre will also offer 150kW electric vehicle recharging, bringing together “zero emission technologies that will support Australia’s energy transition”, the company says.


The forthcoming New Energies Service Station will be in a high-visibility location adjacent to Viva Energy’s Geelong refinery. The facility offers access to major arterial roads and has existing access to high-voltage infrastructure and recycled water from the nearby Barwon Water recycling plant for on-site production of green hydrogen.


The facility will incorporate a two-megawatt electrolyser for the generation of green hydrogen, using recycled water from Barwon Water’s Northern Water Plant.


Viva Energy says the facility is designed to facilitate the commercial deployment of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles, including those used in road freight, public transport, municipal waste management, water treatment and general fleets.


The project received a $22.8 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) and a further $1 million from the Victorian state government through its Renewable Hydrogen Commercial Pathways Fund.


GoAuto understands that Arena’s funding will contribute to both the renewable hydrogen and EV infrastructure, as well as to subsidise the purchase and operation of 15 hydrogen FCEVs to help fast-track FCEV uptake.


Arena funding for the FCEVs will be paid upon the delivery of the vehicles. All vehicles will be purchased and owned by project partners.


Toll Group, ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia, Cleanaway and Barwon Water have committed to purchasing hydrogen FCEVs for their respective fleets, which include prime-movers, wastewater and municipal waste collection vehicles and buses.


“We’re excited to be working with Viva Energy to build Australia’s first publicly available hydrogen refuelling station to independent fleets,” Arena CEO Darren Miller said.


“The experiences of Viva Energy and fleet vehicles using renewable hydrogen produced onsite for refuelling will provide valuable insights into the operation of different types of hydrogen FCEV heavy vehicles.


“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,” he added.


Arena has previously funded light-vehicle hydrogen FCEV projects with Toyota to build refuelling infrastructure at their repurposed Altona vehicle assembly site to support passenger vehicles and forklifts, and BOC, which will install a hydrogen refuelling station in Brisbane for passenger- vehicle fleets.


Arena is also supporting Ark Energy to deploy five FCEV prime-movers to operate between its zinc refinery and the Port of Townsville.


Viva Energy CEO and managing director Scott Wyatt said the project would provide a holistic solution for the delivery of hydrogen vehicles and will overcome the “chicken and egg” challenge that has traditionally been a key hurdle for the sector.


Mr Wyatt said the project illustrated the benefits of industry and government collectively  addressing carbon emissions in the commercial road-transport sector.


“Our existing partners have come on this journey with us, and we share their excitement about what it means for the future of zero-emissions transport,” Mr Wyatt said.


“This project puts hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road to prove their value in day-to-day commercial operations, while reducing the carbon footprint of the heavy-vehicle transport we rely on every day,” he added.


Initially, Viva Energy says several vehicles will be sourced via Hyzon Motors out of Australia and Europe, while ComfortDelGro Corporation’s two FCEV buses will be manufactured and delivered by Australian-based manufacturer Aluminium Revolutionary Chassis Company (ARCC).


The company says it is also in discussions with various potential partners and hydrogen-vehicle manufacturers regarding the purchase and delivery of the remaining FCEVs.


“This funding from Arena has opened the door for Viva Energy to work with long-term customers to demonstrate the important role that hydrogen will play in the future of transportation in Australia,” Mr Wyatt said.

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