Hydrogen superhighway to link eastern states

Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria have announced a landmark tri-state collaboration on a renewable hydrogen refuelling network for heavy transport and logistics along Australia’s eastern seaboard. 

The States have agreed to collaborate on the development of the east coast hydrogen refuelling network that includes the nation’s most critical roads and highways.

Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said hydrogen presents an enormous opportunity for the State, including emissions reduction opportunities and fuel security benefits.

“When you consider the impacts of the COVID pandemic and international conflicts, it’s clear Australia must achieve energy independence, to shield our nation from foreign companies and foreign powers,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Low emissions electricity and hydrogen fuelled heavy transport will sit at the heart of the renewable energy eco-system.

“Transport is the fastest growing sector for emissions and ironically it could also be the key to reducing them.

“Transport applications are one of the most economic uses of hydrogen, where it is already competitive with diesel on a cost-of-fuel basis.

“However Government support is needed to help develop refuelling stations so transport companies can economically invest in new vehicles.

“This week we also approved another regional hydrogen refuelling project through publicly-owned CS Energy and Japanese firm IHI.”

This refuelling project in Chinchilla west of Brisbane brings to five the number of projects in delivery or development with more to come.

NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean said establishing a hydrogen refuelling network for heavy transport on Australia’s busiest road freight routes will enable the decarbonisation of heavy transport industry.

“Renewable hydrogen will increasingly become a competitive zero emissions fuel option for our heavy transport sector, giving our trucking industry the opportunity to decarbonise their fleets,” Mr Kean said.

“The governments of NSW, Victoria and Queensland are signing Memorandums of Understanding for the refuelling corridors, starting with the Hume Highway, the Pacific Highway and the Newell Highway.”

Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said this agreement will be key to reducing emissions in transport and logistics, one of the country’s most important sectors of the economy.

“The renewable hydrogen highway will create new jobs, drive investment across the east coast and is a landmark step towards meeting Victoria’s target to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“This historic collaboration between Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland will revolutionise Australia’s busiest freight corridor, lighting a pathway to a zero-emissions transport sector.”

Queensland Hydrogen Taskforce transport advisor Renata Berglas said the freight sector is well aware of the need to transition to new fuel sources.

“Providing a reliable source of renewable hydrogen will give industry certainty that hydrogen is a viable alternative to diesel,” she said.

“The next step will be increasing supply of zero emissions vehicles designed to meet Australian requirements.”

Volvo vice president of emerging technology business development Paul Illmer welcomed the collaboration.

“Hydrogen will play a vital part in Volvo Group Australia’s decarbonization strategy during the latter half of this decade,” he said.

“A holistic approach to fueling the Australian economy is needed to accelerate our journey to a fossil fuel free future.

“And for our part we are committed to building Australian engineered battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell heavy vehicles here in Queensland as a part of that strategy.

“The roll out of local hydrogen infrastructure gives us the certainty to push ahead on that journey.”  

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