US vehicle builder Hyzon Motors on Wednesday said it plans to build a green hydrogen depot in Australia, working with the country’s biggest towing company to build demand for trucks using hydrogen fuel cells.
The refuelling depot, expected to cost about A$15 million ($11 million), is part of a A$50 million joint project of towing company Nationwide Group and Hyzon, a specialist in hydrogen fuel-cell commercial vehicles. The project includes an assembly plant.
Hyzon aims to have a capacity to assemble 1,000 vehicles a year at the site by 2026.
“We have identified tens of thousands of heavy vehicles that can be transitioned to hydrogen in Australia in the coming years to not only improve our carbon footprint and local air quality but to provide absolute fuel security and long-term stable cost structures for fleet operators,” Hyzon chief executive Craig Knight said in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Nationwide has ordered three tow trucks and a heavy-duty truck, all to be delivered by early 2023.
Parked at the site were 10 hydrogen fuel-cell buses due to be delivered to Fortescue Metals Group’s Chichester Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia.
Fossil Fuel Price Parity Target
As with Fortescue, Hyzon is focused on working with operators of heavy-duty commercial fleets whose vehicles always return to base, where they can refuel at a central site.
That eliminates a key hurdle facing take-up of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles – a lack of refuelling infrastructure on roads.
“It’s not challenging. You only need to get to A$6 or A$7 a kilogram on hydrogen to have a cost structure that’s very competitive with diesel,” Knight told Reuters.
“You don’t need to be at these fairy tale prices of $1 or $2,” he said, referring to the fossil fuel price parity target cited by policy makers, including the Australian government.
Hyzon delivered 87 trucks worldwide in 2021 and expects to deliver 300 to 400 vehicles in 2022, mostly in the second half of the year, due to “supply chain challenges,” Knight said.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell