Toyota's Altona plant to become hydrogen centre


Tuesday, 26 March, 2019


Toyota's Altona plant to become hydrogen centre

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced funding for Toyota Motor Corporation Australia to start the transformation of part of its decommissioned car manufacturing plant in Altona, Victoria into a renewable energy hub to produce green hydrogen for transport.

The $7.4 million Toyota Australia Hydrogen Centre is part of a larger transformation planned for the former car manufacturing site.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA will provide $3.1 million towards the project. The Hydrogen Centre will include solar PV and battery storage to cover the incremental energy requirements for the production of renewable hydrogen through electrolysis and utilisation for both mobile and stationary applications.

The project will aim to demonstrate an end-to-end process for the hydrogen creation chain; from producing hydrogen through electrolysis to the compression and storage of hydrogen and electricity generation via hydrogen fuel cells.

The Hydrogen Centre will also include an education centre and Victoria’s first commercial-scale hydrogen vehicle refuelling station infrastructure on site to allow the refuelling of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The project will produce at least 60 kg of hydrogen per day with on-site solar PV and battery storage to contribute to the incremental energy requirements of the whole site.

Hydrogen is set to play a larger role in the transition to a low-carbon economy. A report last year prepared for ARENA by ACIL Allen Consulting has shown that Australia is in a strong position to take advantage of a future hydrogen export market.

Hydrogen could potentially be used as a way for Australia to export renewable energy to other countries, particularly in Asia. Japan has already set a 10-year strategy to become a large-scale importer of renewable hydrogen.

As an emission-free fuel, hydrogen can also be used to power vehicles and help decarbonise Australia’s transport sector. Hydrogen can also be a form of energy storage, as it can be stored within the gas network and used to power gas appliances.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Darren Miller said Toyota’s Hydrogen Centre would demonstrate hydrogen as a viable fuel source for transport and as an energy storage medium.

“Toyota is helping to pave the way for more renewably powered vehicles in Australia, where the uptake of electric vehicles has been slower than other countries,” he said. “The demonstration of low-cost hydrogen production and distribution is key to the uptake of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles in areas such as truck, bus and government fleets.

“Australia holds a competitive advantage to play a global role in the emerging hydrogen export market due to our existing expertise and infrastructure. We’re excited to see Toyota add their skills to the mix and be a major player in increasing the uptake of hydrogen applications in different sectors.”

Toyota Australia’s President and CEO, Matt Callachor, said the Hydrogen Centre was a step towards the company meeting its target of zero emissions from sites and vehicles by 2050.

“This is a very exciting time for Toyota Australia. Today’s announcement with ARENA aligns with our global drive to promote sustainable mobility and to play a leading role in the transition to a decarbonised future,” said Callachor. “Hydrogen has the potential to play a pivotal role in the future because it can be used to store and transport energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources to power many things, including vehicles like the Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle.

“Right now, the biggest factor to the success of hydrogen being widely available is a lack of infrastructure. The sooner we move to a zero-emission society the better, and Toyota is committed to making this a reality.”

Image: Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle. Source: Toyota.

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