ASX Renewable Energy Stocks: The Aussie duo aiming to keep hydrogen tanks full between Sydney and Melbourne
Two Australian-based hydrogen companies have agreed to plan and build a green hydrogen distribution network along the Hume Highway corridor, worth $600m, with the first hydrogen refuelling station scheduled to open in 2025.
Both headquartered in Melbourne, Hydrogen Fuels Australia (H2FA) and CLARA Energy have signed an MOU to fast-track their joint development of up to five hydrogen refuelling stations between Melbourne and Sydney.
The two companies are collaborating to develop one of the world’s largest green hydrogen production facilities in Tarcutta, NSW, whereby CLARA Energy will be developing production capacity at scale, and H2FA will act as distributor and station operator.
The facilities will support freight and logistics companies transitioning their fleets from diesel to hydrogen.
Each diesel truck replaced with a hydrogen alternative will abate approximately 2.4 tons of CO2 on a Melbourne to Sydney return journey, demonstrating how transitioning diesel trucks to hydrogen offers a major decarbonisation opportunity for Australia.
Plans for additional green hydrogen refuelling stations in Epping and Seymour in Victoria, plus another in the Southern Highlands of NSW and a major refuelling station in Sydney are also underway.
Clara Energy CEO Nick Cleary said creating a green hydrogen production and distribution network along the Hume Highway can help the whole hydrogen industry become viable in Australia.
“We know the Hume is the busiest truck route in Australia and once the major logistics companies know there will be guaranteed supply of hydrogen at a commercially viable price, it will provide even greater confidence to accelerate the transition of their fleets,” he said.
H2FA is also currently constructing its own large-scale hydrogen refuelling station (HRS) in Truganina, in the heart of Melbourne’s largest warehousing and distribution region.
Initially, H2FA’s 5ha site will produce 60-90kg of green hydrogen from its own 640kw solar array using a Green Hydrogen Systems A/S (CPH: GREENH) Electrolyser.
Permits are in place to ramp up to a refuelling capability of up to 6,500kg per day, making it one of the largest HRSes in the world.
The Australian Conservation Fund (ACF) has filed legal action against Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) to stop the Scarborough Gas Project from going ahead until its impact on the Great Barrier Reef is assessed.
Scarborough is a proposed new gas project off the northwest coast of Western Australia that would “cause an estimated 1.37 billion tonnes of greenhouse pollution over the next 25 years” the organisation said.
“Although the gas would be extracted off the coast of WA and much of it burned overseas, it would affect the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland by fuelling climate change, which is causing repeated coral bleaching events on the reef,” the fund added.
According to ACF, Scarborough has never been approved under Australia’s environment protection law because projects assessed by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) are exempt from the national environment law.
However, that exemption does not apply if an offshore project is likely to have a significant impact on the World or National Heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef.
ACF believes the greenhouse gas emissions that will result from the Scarborough project are likely to have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
The organisation will argue that means the project should not be allowed to proceed unless the project – and its impact on the reef – are approved under the national environment law.
“Scarborough’s gas is a climate bomb about to be detonated,” Kelly O’Shanassy ACF chief executive officer said.
“If it goes ahead, the Scarborough gas mine and its Pluto extension will produce vast quantities of climate-heating gas for the next quarter of a century.”