Australia’s largest supplier of industrial gas, Coregas, has opened Australia’s first commercial hydrogen refuelling station for heavy vehicles at Port Kembla near Wollongong.

The new hydrogen fuel facility  is  being described  as a “starting point” and will be shortly supplying hydrogen for up to ten trucks a day in the Illawarra region.

 Coregas executive general manager Alan Watkins said the hydrogen fuel  cell station will initially be supplying  fuel  for waste management company Remondis which is about to start running its first garbage truck on hydrogen.

“Coregas is also expecting two heavy-duty prime movers from Hyzon motors to move gas from Port Kembla to customers,” said Watkins.

Watkins said a typical 400-kilowatt vehicle would be able to refuel from empty in about 15 minutes  at the station and  will be able to travel 650 kilometres on a tank of hydrogen.

Coregas has invested  around $2 million in the hydrogen refuelling station which is located alongside its existing hydrogen production plant and transport hub for bulk hydrogen, located in the Bluescope Steel terminal at Port Kembla.

As well as the investment from Coregas the New South Wales government provided $500,000 to help establish the project.

Alan Watkins said hydrogen was the only gas fuel that did not produce carbon dioxide when powering fuel cells or  being used in ICEs.

“The fuel cell vehicles that we have seen today are producing water and have zero carbon footprint,” he said.

He said the refuelling time and payload were also advantages, emphasising that another advantage is that there is no lengthy charge time  in the same way an EV vehicle works and the payload is quite light.

“The equivalent battery electric truck compared to the Hyzon vehicle here today would have to lose about six or seven tonnes of payload in battery weight, which is important if you are going to run a commercial fleet and run long distances,” said Watson.

Coregas says it expects to convert its fleet of a dozen vehicles to hydrogen within the next couple of years.

At present, the station uses “grey” hydrogen created using natural gas, but it says it aims to transition to “green” hydrogen, from less polluting, carbon-neutral sources in the near future.

“There is a kind of obsession with the colour of hydrogen at the moment,” Watkin said.

He said the company was in advanced negotiations to convert to biogas, which would create carbon-neutral green hydrogen.

The NSW Government’s minister for the Illawarra and local MP for Keira,  Ryan Park was the first to refuel a truck at the station’s launch this week.

AS hydrogen fuel cell bus is already under trial with Red Bus on the Central Coast Tan part of the NSW government’s stated aim of  replacing its fleet of 8,000  buses, with zero emission buses , with most believing  many of these will be hydrogen fuel cell machines .

Local Wollongong MP Paul Scully said said the state government was working with TAFE NSW to help build the work force required for the transition  and said he hoped to see the bus trial extended to the Illawarra around his seat.