A new hydrogen refuelling station has been launched at the CSIRO’s Clayton site in Victoria. It will be used by Swinburne University of Technology’s Victorian Hydrogen Hub and the CSIRO for research into the infrastructure.

“This is innovative, inventive, inspired technology that builds the sovereign capabilities Australia needs to transition to net zero,” said CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Doug Hilton.

“The technology is an exciting piece in the puzzle in Australia’s renewable energy future and will deliver long-term community and environmental benefits, boost the economy and create new jobs and opportunities.”

However, with many early adopters of hydrogen for transport around the world closing or scaling back, and the number of hydrogen cars sold barely a tiny fraction of the electric vehicle market, questions are being asked about how relevant this will be in Australia’s low emissions future.

The $2.5 million hydrogen fast refuelling station is made up of an electrolyser to produce the hydrogen from water, as well as storage to hold the gas once it’s produced. It can refuel cars in as little as six minute, but only has the capacity to refuel 10 cars a day.

It’s for that reason that shile the refuelling station will be open to the public at some points, CSIRO’s Hydrogen Industry Mission leader Dr Patrick Hartley warns it won’t be “like a classic servo”.

“We’re going to try and make it as available as we can, but you can’t just drive up and refuel a vehicle,” he told The Driven.

“We’re really interested in studying how the electricity load changes, depending on how many vehicles are going through, and other similar aspects.”

The electrolyser can generate 20 kg of green hydrogen a day, and the storage can hold 80 kg – enough for 10 or so cars. The fast-refuelling aspect means that a hydrogen car will take about six minutes to go from an empty to full tank.

While the CSIRO calls it ‘clean hydrogen’ it’s worth mentioning that it will use power from both CSIRO’s solar, as well as a power from the grid, using a power purchase agreement implemented in 2020.

The group used Melbourne-based ENGV to supply the hydrogen station, and a CSIRO fleet of hydrogen vehicles have been supplied by Toyota.

The opening of the station comes just a few months after a report from CSIRO suggested that Australia needs to put significant money into hydrogen infrastructure to get a long-haul transport industry using hydrogen off the ground.

“A big part of [the CSIRO mission] right now is demonstrating how this technology works, and confirming we have confidence moving forward,” Hartley told TheDriven.

“Certainly the biggest opportunity is to use hydrogen in long haul vehicles just because the batteries get very big, and are slow to charge … but it’s not so black and white.

“It’s all about scale. And by far the biggest challenge is refuelling infrastructure. That’s why we built one.”

In June, Alan Finkel told listeners of the Energy Insiders podcast that as someone who owns both a electric and hydrogen car – hydrogen was just too hard.

“The hydrogen car, it only takes three or four minutes to fill. But filling it is a 63 minute experience because there’s only one refuelling station in Melbourne,” he told the podcast.

“Nothing can compete with the extraordinary convenience and performance of a battery electric car, so I’m pretty sure that all passenger vehicles, not all but the vast majority of passenger vehicles and most small commercial vehicles will be battery electric.”

Extracted in full from:  https://thedriven.io/2023/11/23/you-cant-just-drive-up-csiro-launches-hydrogen-refuelling-station/

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