ASX-listed fuel company Ampol will trial the production of green hydrogen and the addition of Tesla batteries across a number of its service station sites, forming a virtual power plant, as the company commits to zero net operational emissions by 2040.
Ampol said it would trial new “revenue opportunities” through the addition of Tesla Powerwall batteries and solar panels across three of its South Australian retail sites.
Three of its fuel stations will have between 55 and 99 kilowatts of solar panels installed, along with between six and nine Tesla Powerwall batteries. The systems will be aggregated through a dedicated “virtual power plant” that will be managed by Evergen and which the company expects will be able to deliver new revenues for the stations.
The company is targeting the use of 40 per cent renewables in its retail operations by 2025, increasing this amount to 50 per cent by 2030. Its part of a wider commitment to zero emissions, which does not, however, include the emissions from the fuel it sells.
Te fuel company said that it still anticipates to be selling petrol fuels to customers beyond 2050, and emissions from these sales will not be included within its goal to achieve net zero emissions.
The company said that it would partner with the Irish technology firm Fusion Fuel Green to trial the production of renewable hydrogen at its Lytton refinery site in Queensland.
The green hydrogen trial will involve the deployment of Fusion Fuel’s concentrating solar PV technologies, and combined with an electrolyser, to convert the renewable electricity into hydrogen. Ampol will stop short of offering hydrogen refuelling services directly to drivers but will make the renewable hydrogen produced at the facility available for wholesale customers.
The hydrogen pilot project is expected to be up and running within the next 12 months, and if successful, Ampol says the trial could serve as the basis of a much wider roll-out of hydrogen production facilities.
Ampol recently secured federal government funding to keep its fuel refinery, located in Lytton in Queensland, open until at least 2030. The funding will be provided as part of a $2.3 billion package that will prop up Australia’s last two major fuel refineries – along with Viva Energy’s refinery in Geelong – that struggling to remain viable as a result of international competition.