Rev-up for hydrogen service stations

Australia is expected to get more hydrogen service stations after the country’s largest petrol retailer teamed with a US firm specialising in the alternative fuel.

Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

Ampol announced its partnership with OneH2 on Monday, revealing the companies would work together to speed up the use of hydrogen in the Australian market and help to cut emissions from heavy transport.

The news comes weeks after rival BP opened the first hydrogen refuelling facility at an Australian service station, and after a CSIRO report warned the industry needed to ramp up hydrogen investments or risk falling behind progress overseas.

Ampol international and new business executive general manager Brent Merrick said the company’s partnership was an important step in expanding greener transport options in Australia and giving companies the confidence to invest in new vehicles.

“Hydrogen has a key role to play in reducing emissions across Australia’s transport and broader energy sector and offers a unique opportunity to decarbonise hard to abate heavy transport and heavy machinery sectors,” Merrick said.

“We expect early hydrogen adoption within heavier vehicle fleets and operations who will benefit from short refuelling times and longer range compared to current battery electric alternatives.”

OneH2 chief executive Paul Dawson said the company, which has been developing hydrogen transport and on-site generation solutions since 2015, would increase distribution of the new fuel in Australia.

“Hydrogen as a transport fuel is not easy,” he said.

“Our experience in designing, manufacturing and deploying hydrogen equipment across the US over the last eight years will allow us to accelerate its adoption in the Australian market.”

Ampol’s announcement comes one week after a CSIRO report on hydrogen refuelling infrastructure recommended energy providers ramp up efforts to deliver the technology and governments develop new policies and standards for refuelling equipment to match European guidelines.

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It also followed the opening of a hydrogen refuelling station at BP’s Lytton service station on August 14 that offered renewable hydrogen produced using solar power at nearby Bulwer Island.

The refuelling station is being used to power a fleet of five hydrogen Hyundai Nexos cars owned by the Queensland government.

Australia has fewer than 10 hydrogen refuelling stations in operation, though Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland signed an agreement in 2022 to create a “hydrogen super highway” between the states along the Hume, Pacific and Newell highways.

The federal government is also reviewing the country’s 2019 National Hydrogen Strategy, with an ambition to become “a global hydrogen leader by 2030”.

-with AAP

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