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FOUR industry heavyweights have agreed to co-develop a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Canberra to support the ACT’s growing hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle fleet and encourage uptake of hydrogen vehicles.

A memorandum of understanding was signed this week between Ampol, Hyundai Australia, Pacific Energy and Toyota Australia.

All are proponents of Australia’s growing hydrogen economy and the MOU is seen as demonstrating a commitment to work together to build a more sustainable future.

Both Hyundai and Toyota currently have hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) fleets operating in Australia. Ampol and Pacific Energy are heavily investing in energy solutions to support customers through the energy transition.

Australia currently has four operating hydrogen stations, including the Toyota Hydrogen Centre in Victoria, and one each in WA, NSW and ACT. 

There are a further 105 projects either under construction or under development, according to the CSIRO’s HyResource publication.

The goal of the MOU is to combine the expertise and capabilities of each of the partners to help develop hydrogen refuelling stations for FCEVs in Canberra.

Ampol managing director and CEO, Matt Halliday, said: “Hydrogen can play an important role in delivering decarbonisation benefits for transport and developing the right infrastructure to support a successful rollout is key. 

Matt Halliday, Ampol managing director and chief executive officer

“The MOU establishes a collaborative working relationship between the parties, who are all required to develop the necessary hydrogen ecosystem to make hydrogen use as a transport fuel feasible.” 

Hyundai Australia CEO, Ted Lee, said: “In 2021, Hyundai deployed 23 NEXO fuel-cell electric vehicles into Canberra as a partner in the ACT government’s hydrogen station project – the first hydrogen refueller of its kind in Australia.

“Our consortium partners have a great track record of deploying energy and refuelling infrastructure, along with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. 

“Hyundai looks forward to working with our experienced partner companies and the broader government and business community in the ACT to help the transition to a cleaner and greener transport future.”

Pacific Energy Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Cullen, said the company was pleased to be a part of the consortium of like-minded organisations, which he said is driven to decarbonise the transport sector and make Australia’s H2 ecosystem a success.

“Our purpose at Pacific Energy is to transition the world to a clean energy future,” Mr Cullen said.

“To be successful, we know we must collectively lean into bold opportunities that help accelerate our journey towards net zero, and we know hydrogen and zero emissions vehicles play an important role in this approach.” 

Toyota Australia president and CEO, Matthew Callachor, said: “Since 2018, Toyota has been expanding our hydrogen capability in Australia, first with local trials of our Mirai FCEV sedan and then with the establishment of Victoria’s first hydrogen production, storage and refuelling facility.” 

“This month, we announced plans to locally assemble and distribute the EODev GEH2 fuel cell generator in Australia and this joint collaboration announced today provides further opportunities to explore and grow this vital technology.”

Toyota Australia last month announced it would expand its role in the growing hydrogen economy after signing contracts with French sustainable energy solutions provider EODev (Energy Observer Developments) to assemble and distribute its stationary hydrogen fuel cell power generators GEH2 in Australia.

Through this partnership, Toyota Australia will invest $3.27 million to assemble EODev’s GEH2 power generators at its former manufacturing facility at Altona in Melbourne from the first quarter of 2024.

Toyota will also become the Australian distributor for both locally assembled and fully built EODev GEH2 generators that will be sold in Australia through retail partner Blue Diamond Machinery – Australia’s leading national independent distributor of off-grid power solutions and the exclusive supplier of EODev’s GEH2 generator.

The first model to be assembled will be the 110kVA GEH2 generator, which uses the same Toyota fuel-cell system that powers the Toyota Mirai FCEV and provides zero CO2, NOx or fine particle exhaust emission power generation suitable for a wide range of applications.

Toyota said that as the market develops, additional models with higher power supply will be considered for assembly and distribution in Australia.

By Neil Dowling

Pictured L-R: Ampol CEO Matthew Halliday, Toyota Australia president and CEO Matthew Callachor, Pacific Energy non-executive chairman Cliff Lawrenson, Hyundai Australia CEO Ted Lee