A new hydrogen research hub will be established in Victoria, bringing together research and industry to develop and demonstrate new hydrogen technologies, after securing a $10 million funding boost from the Victorian government.
The Victorian Hydrogen Hub, set to be constructed at the CSIRO’s Clayton campus, will support the creation of 300 new full-time jobs and bring together researchers and students from leading Australian institutions, as well as supporting increased co-operation with industry.
As part of the funding commitment, the Victorian government will ensure that half of the new hubs PhD and Masters scholarships will be awarded to women, in an effort to help attract and support the participation of women in the hydrogen sector.
“This hub will help give Victorian the skills and experience we need to unlock the hydrogen industry – driving down emissions while creating green jobs in a growing industry,” Victorian energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.
The CSIRO will receive more than $1 million to fund the establishment of a new hydrogen refuelling station, allowing the research institution to trial a number of hydrogen fuelled vehicles.
The CSIRO said that the construction of a new hydrogen refuelling station would be a significant step in the ongoing development of Australia’s hydrogen industry, particularly for the transport sector.
“As Australia considers energy alternatives, we know hydrogen is clean and will be cost-competitive – but a major barrier to it becoming a fuel source for cars and trucks is how to refuel, and the lack of refuelling infrastructure,” CSIRO executive director, Nigel Warren said.
“We thank the Victorian government for supporting VH2 which, combined with the refueller, will allow us to test emerging hydrogen technologies.”
The CSIRO will partner with Swinburne University to establish the research hub. The university has previously partnered with the German ARENA 2036 research facility, that will construct a matching research hub in Stuttgart.
The Australian facility is expected to commence construction in early 2022 and will take 18 months to complete.
“This is a unique opportunity to work across continents to create scalable, global solutions. Australia will be at the forefront in this important research, led by the team at Swinburne and CSIRO,” Swinburne University’s deputy vice-chancellor for research and enterprise professor Bronwyn Fox said.
“The international partnership connects the largest industry players in the hydrogen sector in both countries, as well as some of the largest users of hydrogen expected to drive future demand. Our deep partnership with the CSIRO and the Hydrogen Mission connects VH2 into the wider Australian hydrogen ecosystem.”
Funding for the hub has been provided by the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund, established in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic to support the state’s research institutions.
“We are proud to be investing in this innovative project that will drive the state’s COVID-19 recovery – by giving Victorians more opportunities to learn and find pathways into meaningful careers,” Victorian minister for higher education Gayle Tierney said.
The Victorian Hydrogen Hub will look to expand collaboration between research institutions and hydrogen vehicle manufacturers. This includes Toyota, which has marketed the hydrogen fuelled Mirai sedan and has already indicated an intention to engage with the research hub, welcoming the funding commitment from the Victorian government.
“This is a significant step towards having the necessary refuelling infrastructure to help grow hydrogen opportunities in Australia,” Toyota Australia’s manager of future technologies, Matt MacLeod said
“We look forward working closely with CSIRO and their partners on this exciting project.”
In addition to the funding boost provided by the Victorian government, the CSIRO’s Clayton hydrogen research facility secured $150,000 in seed funding as part of a national network of hydrogen clusters supported by National Energy Resources Australia.