Viva Energy has entered a strategic alliance with a global leader in hydrogen vehicle fuel cells in a move that accelerates its vision to create a sophisticated energy hub at the Geelong refinery.

The deal with $2 billion US company Hyzon Motors will see the two working together on providing zero-emission heavy duty vehicles coupled with hydrogen refuelling solutions to customers.

It could lead to Geelong becoming a manufacturer of green hydrogen and give Viva Energy another means of securing the refinery’s long-term future as a supplier of diversified energy sources.

A Hyzon hydrogen-powered bus. The US company has an alliance with Viva Energy
A Hyzon hydrogen-powered bus. The US company has an alliance with Viva Energy

The announcement, a day after the Altona oil refinery became the latest victim of the struggling refining industry, underscores Viva Energy’s intention of recasting the refinery as an energy hub that does not rely solely on refining oil to survive.

It is already advancing plans to create a floating gas plant at Refinery Pier to process imported LNG and has brought in two international consortiums on that project

As part of its alliance with Hyzon, a world leader in fuel cell technology for trucks and buses, Viva Energy has committed to invest US$4 million in it as part of Hyzon’s capital raising and listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange, via a merger with Decarbonisation Plus Acquisition Corp. announced this week.

The plans to create the Geelong Energy Hub at the Geelong refinery.
The plans to create the Geelong Energy Hub at the Geelong refinery.

Viva Energy CEO Scott Wyatt said the companies would start working on developing an entire hydrogen transport solution that could move past the traditional roadblocks to establishing a hydrogen refuelling network, by getting hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road to provide the demand.

“The Hyzon alliance fits closely with our intention to explore and develop future energy solutions at our energy hub, where we are looking at the possibility of generating solar-powered green hydrogen,” Mr Wyatt said.

“The establishment of a hydrogen transport hub in Geelong, while only conceptual at this stage, could be an exciting demonstration of the types of projects we could pursue through the energy hub.”

Mr Wyatt said diversifying the Corio refinery was a key element in giving it a sustainable future.

“Getting those projects developed and approved and in place is actually not just good for these projects but they are really important for the Geelong refinery’s future as well,” he said.

He said the refinery was familiar with making hydrogen as part of the refining process and by adding its own solar power in the future, or by sourcing power from another renewable energy source, it could make green hydrogen.

Last year Hyzon entered a deal with Australian mining giant Fortescue Metals to replace an existing fleet of diesel coaches at a Queensland mine site with hydrogen-powered coaches.

CEO Craig Knight said the Australian market was a priority for the company which was delivering some of the world’s most powerful, yet cleanest, heavy vehicles.

“Hydrogen mobility for the Australian commercial vehicle sector holds enormous potential as fleets look to smoothly transition from fossil fuels to clean energy solutions that decarbonise their operations,” Mr Knight said.

Developing a hydrogen supply chain with strategic partners will be central to this transition.

“This is why we are delighted to be partnering with Viva Energy, one of Australia’s largest energy companies, to drive the hydrogen mobility sector forward, with a focus on establishing Victoria and Geelong in particular, as leading hydrogen transport hubs,” Mr Knight said.

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