Viva Energy the licensee of the Shell  fuel brand in Australia, has announced it has made a big step into the future revealing plans to open a hydrogen refuelling station in Geelong and linking it with similar stations planned for Sydney and Brisbane.

Its “New Energies Service Station” in Geelong will from late next year offer electric vehicle (EV) charging along with public refuelling of hydrogen-fuelled trucks and buses.

The opening of the station, to be sited on the corner of Station Street and the Princes Highway at the entrance to Geelong Refinery, will coincide with the first deployment of FCEV fleets in Australia operating and refuelling outside a company property.

The Geelong station will source its hydrogen from Viva’s sustainable manufacturing facility, the $43.3 million Geelong Energy Hub that includes a two-megawatt electrolyster to make green hydrogen using recycled water from Barwon Water’s Northern Water Plant.

Viva said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that the project will provide the commercial deployment of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) “in a cross-section of industries that can’t be easily decarbonised.”

“These include road freight, public transport, municipal waste management, water treatment and general fleet,” it said.

The project has received a $22.8 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program.

It brings together diverse industry partners operating an initial fleet of 15 hydrogen-powered heavy vehicles that will be refuelled at the station.

The Victorian Government also contributed $1 million to the project via the Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund.

“Providing a holistic solution for the delivery of hydrogen vehicles and the supply of hydrogen, the project drives hydrogen demand in parallel with infrastructure development to overcome the ‘chicken-and-egg’ challenge that has traditionally been a key hurdle for the sector,” Viva said.

“The project illustrates the benefits of industry and government working together to address carbon emissions in the commercial road transport sector,” the company said.

Foundation partners deploying vehicles in the first year of the project include: • Toll Group – two hydrogen powered prime movers deployed for the delivery of liquid fuels from Viva Energy’s Geelong Refinery to the Shell Coles Express service station network • ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia (CDC) – two hydrogen-powered buses for use on Geelong city commuter bus routes