Two energy companies have announced they are teaming up to roll out hydrogen filling stations in Tasmania following a cash injection from the federal government in the recent budget.
The two companies, Line Hydrogen and Bonney Energy announced they will collaborate to build hydrogen refuelling stations in Tasmania as the race to put in place infrastructure for a zero emission transport future starts.
Line Energy is a privately owned Brisbane company and says it plans to open a hydrogen production electrolysis plant at George Town near Launceston in the state’s North East in 2023 which will be powered by solar energy from the nearby Climate Capital owned Bell Solar Farm near Bell Bay.
Line Energy was the recipient of a $5.5 million grant in the recent federal budget to kick start the Tasmanian project, which is part of a six year $89.5 million Commonwealth commitment to add hydrogen refuelling stations to trucking routes.
In a story in the Australian Financial Review the company’s founder, Brendan James, said Line had struck an agreement with Bonney Energy “that would put Tasmania’s first hydrogen-powered trucks on the roads next year”.
“Tasmania had big trucking fleets with “progressive” companies, making it a good place to set up new infrastructure,” James told the paper.
Bonney Energy is a Tasmanian company that operates a network of service stations, fuel distribution and storage around the state which Line will utilise to distribute the hydrogen from its plant to filling stations and into trucks.
Line Energy’s plan is to have hydrogren refuelling sites at four or five of Bonney’s service stations across the state but says it is still working with Bonney to plan where to put the hydrogen refuelling locations will be.
“This is about setting up commercial scale refuelling so that a heavy truck or a car can go in and refuel at the same speed that it would take to refuel a diesel vehicle,” James told the AFR.
Line will convert its own fleet of 20 prime movers and 10 smaller rigid trucks to hydrogen to service the Tasmanian network, however at the moment it says it will trial both hydrogen fuel cell electric drivelines and also hydrogen fuelled internal combustion engines, possibly the Cummins technology displayed at the recent IAA in Hannover. The company says it will evaluate the performance of both over the next 12 months .
“We’re starting up at below diesel parity but it will continue to go lower than that as we expand,” James told the AFR.
“The hydrogen refuelling is about the same time as refuelling a diesel truck,” he added
James also believes that the company expects the cost of hydrogen to be more stable than the price of diesel over the next decade.
Line is also working with miners, signing a deal with Blue Cap Mining in October to provide green hydrogen to power vehicles and mining equipment on the company’s Lord Byron gold mine in Western Australia. Blue Cap claims the project will be the first carbon-neutral mine in Australia.
Line, told the AFR it is also planning to supply hydrogen in Queensland and potentially either NSW or Victoria. “We have quite ambitious plans,” Mr James said.
Other companies are also developing hydrogen refuelling networks. Hydrogen Fuels Australia and project developer Clara Energy are building green hydrogen refuelling stations for trucks along the Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney. Their first refuelling station is due to open in 2025.