Viva Energy announces hydrogen truck refuelling at Geelong Energy Hub

Viva Energy Group Limited has announced the development of a New Energies Service Station in Geelong.

Alongside electric vehicle recharging, the service station will offer public refuelling of hydrogen powered heavy vehicles (trucks and buses) operating within the Geelong region, making it one of Australia’s most ambitious hydrogen mobility projects.

Viva Energy described it as a market-leading development in Australia, comparable with other large commercial refuelling infrastructure installations around the world.

The project forms part of Viva Energy’s vision for a Geelong Energy Hub, which will see Geelong become a leader in commercial deployment of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles.

“With this project, Viva Energy has brought together commercial fleet operators, government and vehicle manufacturers to develop a commercially viable, hydrogen-focused service station that will support the transition to a zero-emissions energy solution in the large and growing commercial transport sector,” Viva Energy said in a statement.

This initial service station is the first step in the company’s longer term plans to be a leader in refuelling a growing hydrogen powered fleet, and establish a nationwide refuelling network at its existing service stations along major commercial road transport routes between Melbourne and Sydney, and onto Brisbane.

The project is structured to achieve a commercial return in-line with the company’s projected energy transition growth strategy, with the broader opportunity providing large long-term upside potential.

It is expected to commence operations in late 2023.

At least 15 hydrogen-powered heavy vehicles are expected to be deployed within the first two years of operations, with significant scope to expand further as the commercial opportunity is proven.

The first seven vehicles will be purchased and deployed by Viva Energy partners with operations in Geelong.

These include Toll Group, Cleanaway, ComfortdelGro Corporate Australia (CDC) and Barwon Water.

Toll Group Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs Leigh Obradovic, Toll Group Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Zed Ivankovic, Assistant Minister to Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Tim Wilson, and Toll Group interim EGM Resources and Industrials, Gary Allen.

Some of the vehicles will be delivered by Hyzon Motors out of Europe and Australia and CDC’s two buses will be manufactured and delivered by Australian-based manufacturer, Aluminium Revolutionary Chassis Company (ARCC).

Viva Energy said it was currently in discussions with several other potential customers and hydrogen vehicle manufacturers, and expects to see growing demand over time as hydrogen electric vehicles become more prevalent in the market.

Toll Group will provide two hydrogen-powered prime movers deployed for the delivery of Viva Energy liquid fuels to its customers across South Western Victoria.

Toll Group envisions that this project will be a catalyst for a network of hydrogen refueling stations from Geelong to Sydney and onto Brisbane.

“We’re proud to lead the industry and partner with Viva Energy to develop the future of zero-emissions transport for heavy vehicles,” said Toll Group Managing Director, Thomas Knudsen.

“We believe in the potential for hydrogen to deliver a carbon free energy solution for the transport industry and this project is our first step on this journey.”

The project will incorporate an onsite 2MW electrolyser to generate green hydrogen from renewable electricity and recycled water from Barwon Water’s Northern Water Plant.

The Company also announced today that it intends to build an initial 15MW (expandable to ~20MW) capacity solar farm on available land at Geelong Refinery. The solar farm adds a “behind the meter” renewable generation asset to the Energy Hub, and supports the company’s broader vision to reduce its own Scope 2 emissions profile.

The solar farm is expected to generate electricity at a price that compares favourably to the forecast Victorian grid electricity prices.

Total project costs for the service station, electrolyser and contribution towards the funding of hydrogen- powered vehicles is expected to be approximately $43.3M.

The project has received a $22.8M grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program, and $1M from the Victorian Government as part of the Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund.

“Viva Energy will contribute $11M towards the service station and electrolyser infrastructure, and our partners will contribute $8.5M towards vehicle deployment and the purchase of hydrogen,” the company said in a statement.

The solar project is funded on a stand-alone basis by Viva Energy, and is expected to cost approximately $20M.

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