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Toyota completes first stage of Hydrogen Centre

New Toyota Hydrogen Centre closer to completion with unveiling of first facility

23 Apr 2020

Toyota Motor Company Australia (TMCA) has announced the completion of the first stage of its new Hydrogen Centre at the Altona site in Melbourne’s west, namely the education centre designed to demonstrate the role hydrogen can play in society.


First announced in March last year, the site located at the Toyota Centre of Excellence has been made possible by a $7.4 million investment, $3.1 million of which has been funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).


The education centre portion of the hydrogen facility is designed to demonstrate the role hydrogen power can play in the future of both the transport industry and broader energy economy.


Unfortunately for TMCA, the impact of the COVID-19 virus has meant the education centre has been unable to open for visitors, however it is nevertheless an important step in the facility’s construction.


The Japanese car-maker hopes the development of the Hydrogen Centre will help spur the development of further hydrogen infrastructure across the country, which can help pave the way for the mass-market introduction of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).


TMCA originally aimed for the entire centre to be operational by the end of the year, and would sport its own hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.


The aim is for the centre to be able to produce up to 60kg of hydrogen per day from water by electrolysis, with electricity sourced from a 500kW solar array that was placed on the roof of the facility years ago when it was being used as a production factory.


Once completed, the facility will be the first FCEV fuelling site to run on its own renewable energy and produce its own hydrogen, with TMCA planning to supply it to customers as Victoria’s first commercial-grade hydrogen refuelling station.


Across Australia, TMCA’s solar capacity has expanded to 1156kW thanks also to properties in Sydney and Brisbane, which the company estimates has so far led to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 8835 tonnes.


An additional 87kW system will soon be installed at Altona as part of the Hydrogen Centre build.


Currently, Toyota only produces a single FCEV model in its global portfolio, the Mirai sedan which was partly unveiled in second-generation guise at the Tokyo motor show in October.


TMCA is hoping to introduce the new Mirai in Australia within the next five years, with the company bullish about the powertrain technology’s chances of success Down Under.


TMCA vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said in December that he expects FCEV adoption to come much more rapidly than battery-electric hybrids.


“I’ve often believed that FCEV vehicles will accelerate very quickly in terms of introduction,” he said.


“It won’t take the 20 years that hybrid has taken to get adoption; I think that will accelerate quickly.


“Somewhere between now and I reckon the next five years it would be credible for us to have the second-generation Mirai. So it’s not a matter of if, it’s only a matter of when.”

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