ARENA supports Ark Energy renewable hydrogen project with $3.02m funding

Heavy vehicles powered by renewable hydrogen will be used in a first-of-a-kind deployment based in Townsville, helping to reduce emissions in the transport and mining sectors.

On behalf of the Australian government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has approved $3.02m in funding to Ark Energy H2 Pty Ltd to support the development of a 1 MW electrolyser with storage and refuelling infrastructure to fuel five new 140 tonne rated fuel cell electric trucks.

The project will be located at the Sun Metals zinc refinery in Townsville, which is owned by Ark’s sister company Sun Metals Corporation (SMC).

Ark and SMC are subsidiaries of Korea Zinc Company Limited (Korea Zinc), the largest zinc, lead and silver producer in the world.

The project is part of Korea Zinc’s long-term strategy to export renewable hydrogen to supply Korea Zinc’s global operations as well as other end users in Asia, however, the group’s priority is to build the domestic hydrogen economy of North Queensland first.

ARENA’s funds will be paid upon the commissioning of the refuelling facility and delivery of the five trucks, which are expected to arrive in December 2022.


A pathway towards achieving net zero emissions in the mining sector

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the deployment could offer up a valuable pathway towards achieving net zero emissions in the heavy transport and mining sectors.

“As Australia pushes towards net zero emissions, we must continue to find renewable and clean solutions for hard-to-abate sectors now so that alternatives to fossil fuels can be implemented as soon as possible.

“Ark’s first-of-a-kind deployment is a great opportunity to highlight the potential of ultra-heavy fuel cell electric trucks in Australia, which has significant replication potential and could fast track the reduction of emissions by using renewable hydrogen not only in heavy transport, but the entire resources supply chain domestically.”

The trucks, supplied by Hyzon Motors, are expected to become the largest road-going fuel cell electric trucks in the world at the time of their deployment.

Ark will lease the trucks to its sister company, Townsville Logistics, which will operate them in road train triple trailer configuration and incorporate them into its short haul fleet currently transporting zinc concentrate and ingots between the Port of Townsville and the zinc refinery.

SMC’s zinc refinery is currently the second largest single-site consumer of electricity in Queensland – the introduction of fuel cell electric trucks will assist the company in helping to reduce its overall emissions, starting with the transport supply chain.

The five zero emission trucks will replace equivalent diesel-powered trucks and avoid 1,300 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Ark’s project is also supported by a $12.5 million debt finance facility from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and has also been awarded $5 million from the Queensland State Government’s Hydrogen Industry Development Fund – making it the first hydrogen project to be jointly support by both the CEFC and ARENA.


States join forces

Elsewhere in green energy this morning, three state and territory governments have joined forces to develop a forum for sharing policy ideas to achieve net zero emissions.

The New South Wales, South Australia, and Australia Capital Territory (ACT) governments have collaborated to form the Net Zero Emissions Policy Forum which will give sub-national jurisdictions shared tools to address the challenges of achieving targets without “reinventing the wheel.”

All states and territories have committed to net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, with the majority also setting interim targets.

As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, while the two Coalition governments and the ACT’s Labor administration have started the forum, they anticipate it will expand to include sub-national level governments from other countries.

NSW Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean said it was an economic and environmental imperative to act on climate change.

“Greenhouse gas emissions do not recognise borders and to tackle climate change we need a globally collaborative approach and that is what this form is about.”

The announcement comes as the energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor concludes his time at the Glasgow conference.

NSW will chair the forum for the first 12 months.

It is expected that the leadership role will pass on to an international member afterwards.