Author: Renata Berglas, Chair, H2Q Queensland
About Renata: Renata is a passionate public policy professional and mobility futures business leader. With an eye on the future of our transport network and a passion for freight and zero emissions, she is leading and influencing the hydrogen conversation in the transport sectors.
AAHA! Accessing the Australian HYDROGEN Arterial Route –WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, & HOW?
A new tri-state collaboration between New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland announces the beginning of a renewable hydrogen refuelling network for heavy transport on Australia’s busiest freight corridor. NSW is expecting 10,000 hydrogen heavy vehicles will be on the road by 2030 and Queensland Minister for Hydrogen Mick de Brenni claims Queenslander’s will be ‘trucking on sunshine’ in his recent speech. It is clear government is supporting the zero-emission transition of the transport sector. The freight industry is cautiously optimistic that the price of fuel cell vehicles will come down to a comparable level. However, there are still many hurdles to overcome including vehicle availability, cost and supply of hydrogen and the trial of vehicles in Australian conditions.
Fuel Cells or Fool Cells ?
The debate of batteries over fuel cell vehicles will continue until it becomes clear which drive train suits what duty cycle. In Europe and America demand for zero emissions passenger vehicles is driving the investment in zero emissions technology. Elon Musk has strong opinions and is never afraid to express them. He remains convinced that best-case hydrogen fuel cell does not win against current case for batteries. He is not the only person with huge influence and reach that feels this way.
Hydrogen technology is top of mind for many forward-thinking companies including Hyzon, H2X, Nikola, Toyota, Hyundai, Foton Mobility and others producing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with confidence. Freight operators may have to rethink their long brand loyalties to flagship OEMs that are not moving fast enough to develop new zero emissions models. Previously unknown brands like Hyzon are making inroads capturing market and build consumer confidence. Tesla leads the new OEM revolution and shows people are willing to try a new brand if it delivers a new driving experience.
Fight, Flight or Fright for the Future of Freight?
Vehicles powered by hydrogen face stiff competition from electric types, but several operators have indicated they expect hydrogen and electric vehicles to eventually operate side by side in their fleets. The time frame for hydrogen fuel cell deployment depends on how optimistic you are that big business will invest in zero emissions technology. Scalability is key to cost reduction. Fourth and fifth generation fuel cells developed in Europe, are considerably cheaper and more efficient than their predecessors. But it takes commitment and demand for this new technology for the deployment to scale and costs to reduce. In a recent Financial Review article, Nationwide CEO Michael Stephenson said he is impressed with hydrogen vehicle fuel ranges and suggests there are less parts that can go wrong. They are putting this thinking into action with a collaboration with parent company RACV and Hyzon to manufacture the first Australian hydrogen tow trucks assembled trucks in Victoria.
Find out how you can transition your fleet to hydrogen in a commercially sound way.
The Hydrogen Connect Summit will feature an extensive and intensive quickfire case study series session on mobility with contributions from John Edgley, Managing Director HYZON, Neil Wang, CEO Foton Mobility, and Mark Gjerek, Director MOV3MENT. They will share their lessons learned in decarbonising fleets, solutions needed for a commercially sound heavy transport and logistics sector, and a reality check on how quickly we can decarbonise road freight. The 2022 Summit has been designed to give hydrogen beginner, intermediate and advanced up-takers the necessary expertise, latest technology and most recent hard learned lessons to do what it takes to switch and become part of the hydrogen fuelled Australian revolution.
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