Calls for Australia to focus on hydrogen-powered transport

The CSIRO and GHD Advisory have released a report that calls on Australia to focus on hydrogen-powered transport.

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

While battery electric vehicles (BEVs) 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.

The report involved a comparison of various hydrogen storage and distribution methods. It also assessed refuelling infrastructure alternatives, taking into account both fuel demand and proximity to the hydrogen supply.

It found that although existing Australian hydrogen refuelling stations rely on on-site hydrogen generation, a transition towards centralised off-site production and distribution will be necessary to efficiently provide fuel for vehicles on a larger scale.

Shawn Wolfe, Executive Advisor at GHD Advisory and lead author of the report, said Australia currently has only five hydrogen refuelling stations in operation, with 20 planned or under construction.

“The pace of the transition to hydrogen-powered transport is moving a lot faster internationally than in Australia. Companies like Daimler and Ampol are not hedging their bets – it’s a hydrogen and electric transport future. We need to get into lockstep or risk being left behind.”

Professor Bronwyn Fox, Chief Scientist at the CSIRO, said Australia urgently needs to 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.

“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.

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

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