Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum’s push into hydrogen fuel has led to it calling for the Federal Government to mandate a percentage of government car fleets be electric or zero-emission vehicles.
In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the growth in electric vehicles, Woodside executive vice-president Shaun Gregory argues Australia should be investing in hydrogen infrastructure to aid the uptake of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. The company also argues the rollout of electric car chargers could be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Woodside said the Government could support zero-emission vehicle uptake in Australia by providing government fleet procurement guarantees, with used government vehicles eventually being on-sold to the consumer market.
The company says governments could also commit to using zero-emission public transport fleets more. Woodside says the cheapest way of producing hydrogen is from natural gas. It has been eyeing development of hydrogen mostly for export by tapping into a Japanese desire to develop the clean energy fuel.
Describing it as the ultimate clean fuel, Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman in May said he expected at-scale production worldwide by the 2030s.
Mr Coleman said the Pilbara, with its abundance of LNG and solar energy, was well-placed to ship hydrogen.
“We’re … taking a keen interest in the development of hydrogen as an energy source, driven largely by Japan,” he said.
“It’s really part of Japan’s push in 2020 to become a hydrogen economy.”
Woodside’s push comes as drivers of high-performance Tesla electric cars demand laws to punish drivers of petrol and diesel cars with heavy fines or towing for parking in an electric charging station, just as they would be penalised for parking in a disabled carpark.
Part of the inquiry is to look into how third-party insurance regimes will change once the rollout of driverless cars begins in earnest.
With no driver behind the wheel of a car, questions are being asked as to who might be liable in the case of an accident.
Many new luxury cars, including some makes of Tesla, already offer a self-driving “autopilot”. But by law in Australia drivers must still keep their hands on the wheel when the car is steering itself.
Extracted from The Western Australian