Australia must accelerate hydrogen-powered transport future

Heavy transport truck driver refuels truck at Coregas' new H2Station hydrogen refueller
Coregas' H2Station hydrogen refueller

A new report released by CSIRO and GHD Advisory calls for Australia to focus on hydrogen-powered transport—alongside electric vehicles—or risk being left behind our international counterparts.

While battery electric vehicles will drive decarbonisation of road transport in Australia, there are opportunities for hydrogen-powered vehicles to play a significant role with long-haul travel and freight transport.

This is because hydrogen-powered vehicles are quicker to refuel, have a greater range between refuelling stops and can maximise their payload because they don’t need to carry large, heavy batteries required by electric vehicles.

Related article: Australia’s first service station hydrogen refueller opens

The ‘Hydrogen vehicle refuelling infrastructure’ report sets out the opportunities and challenges for deploying refuelling stations for hydrogen-powered road vehicles in Australia.

CSIRO chief scientist Prof Bronwyn Fox said Australia needs to urgently decarbonise its transport sector, which currently accounts for 18.6 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions, if the country is to meet its net zero commitments. Heavy vehicles are a key contributor to these emissions.

“While we know hydrogen will play a critical role, we also know that much of the key infrastructure for storing, moving and distributing hydrogen for use as a transport fuel – including pipelines, storage tanks and refuelling stations—is yet to be built,” Prof Fox said.

“That’s why this report is so important. It identifies priorities for action, including areas that would benefit from targeted research and innovation.”

Related article: Coregas launches hydrogen refueller for heavy vehicles

The report compared the different hydrogen storage and dispensing options available, and evaluated refuelling infrastructure options based on fuel demand and distance from the hydrogen source.

It found that while all Australian hydrogen refuelling stations currently have onsite hydrogen production, we will need to move to centralised offsite production and distribution of hydrogen in order to refuel vehicles at scale.

Download the report here.

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