Major auto brands Toyota and Hyundai have partnered to expand the number of hydrogen refuelling stations in Australia and boost popularity of renewable energy.
Four companies, including the automakers, Ampol and Pacific Energy, announced the deal on Tuesday, revealing plans to share expertise and build hydrogen infrastructure in Canberra.
Toyota and Hyundai are the only companies to have released hydrogen fuel-cell cars in Australia – the Mirai sedan and NEXO SUV – which have had limited adoption due to the lack of refuelling options.
Australia has fewer than 10 hydrogen stations.
The announcement also came as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency revealed it had approved record funding during the last financial year for projects including hydrogen infrastructure.
Ampol chief executive Matt Halliday said the four companies had signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop hydrogen projects to support vehicles in the nation’s capital.
“Hydrogen can play an important role in delivering decarbonisation benefits for transport and developing the right infrastructure to support a successful rollout is key,” he said.
“The (deal) establishes a collaborative working relationship between the parties who are all required to develop the necessary hydrogen ecosystem to make hydrogen use as a transport feasible.”
Hyundai deployed 23 hydrogen-fuelled vehicles in Canberra as part of a deal with the ACT government in 2021, making it the first hydrogen car fleet in Australia.
Toyota has been trialling its Mirai line of hydrogen fuel-cell cars in Australia since 2018 and offers the vehicles on extended lease in Victoria, where the company operates its own refuelling station.
Toyota Australia president Matthew Callachor said the automaker was committed to developing hydrogen as an alternative energy source.
“This month we announced plans to locally assemble and distribute the EODev GEH2 fuel-cell generator in Australia and this joint collaboration announced today provides further opportunities to explore and grow this vital technology,” he said.
The latest partnership follows several recent announcements for hydrogen technology, including BP’s launch of the first hydrogen facility at a service station in August and Ampol’s deal with US firm OneH2 to develop more refuelling stations.
It also comes after record funding from ARENA, which on Tuesday revealed it had approved $544.1 million to 60 projects during the last financial year.
Hydrogen projects to receive funding included a $50 million investment in the HyGATE Initiative to develop pilots in hydrogen supply, and $50 million in research and development projects.
(Australian Associated Press)