Zero emissions vehicles
The ACT Government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport through encouraging active travel, providing high-quality low emissions public transport options and encouraging the transition to zero emissions vehicles.
Canberra will be the first Australian city to pilot a publicly-available Hydrogen Refuelling Station (HRS). Located in Fyshwick, the pilot HRS is scheduled to be constructed and commissioned through March and April this year. The station has been designed to serve 20 Hyundai Nexo hydrogen vehicles scheduled to join the ACT Government fleet in April. Limited additional capacity will also be available for privately-owned hydrogen vehicles by arrangement with ActewAGL.
The construction of the station and provision of vehicles are the result of a partnership between the ACT Government, ActewAGL and renewable energy developer Neoen.
How does a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) work?
Electric vehicles (EVs) primarily rely on batteries for electrical energy. Next generation Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) use a fuel cell to turn hydrogen into electrical energy. The only emission from this process is water.
In a FCEV, hydrogen is stored as fuel in a tank. Unlike petroleum-based fuels, instead of being burned, hydrogen is chemically reacted in a fuel cell with oxygen in the air to make electricity and water. This electricity is used to power the electric motor and drive the wheels, just like in a battery electric vehicle.
Infrastructure at refuelling stations has been designed to be simple, safe and convenient. Re-filling a hydrogen vehicle can be done in a few minutes via a pump (dispenser) process—like that used for refilling an internal combustion engine vehicle. There is a data interface between the refuelling station and the hydrogen vehicle to ensure the right amount of hydrogen is dispensed at the right pressure.
Hydrogen vehicles are held to the same rigorous safety standards as all other commercially available vehicles, furthermore, the hydrogen fuel tanks are subjected to repeated testing such that the tanks can withstand collisions. The Hyundai Nexo that will be used in the ACT Government fleet gained the top Euro NCAP safety rating (five stars).
- Zero stamp duty on new zero emissions vehicles in the ACT
- 20% discount on registration fees on zero emissions vehicles in the ACT
- Annual savings from reduced running costs due to less moving parts and less brake wear from regenerative braking
- Long driving ranges (between 500–800km) and short refuelling time (3–5 mins)
- High energy density, and so suitable for long-range, heavy-duty vehicles (including buses, trucks and trains)
- Keep the environment clean and healthy by filtration and removal pollutants from the air
- As Canberra’s electricity is produced from 100% renewable energy sources from 2020, hydrogen fuel produced in the ACT makes hydrogen vehicles a true zero emission vehicle!
A hydrogen refuelling station is the infrastructure through which hydrogen vehicles can be refuelled. The refuelling process is similar to the standard petrol pump process for diesel and petrol vehicles.
The hydrogen refuelling station is scheduled to commence commissioning trials in September 2020, subject to any additional delays due to COVID-19.
Hydrogen vehicles use a fuel cell stack to create electricity which drives the vehicle’s electric motor. A fuel cell stack uses stored hydrogen, mixes it with oxygen and creates electricity—the only by-product is water.
Hydrogen vehicles create zero emissions, in comparison to a standard petrol vehicle, which emits approximately 4600 kilograms of carbon a year.
The long-term operating costs of hydrogen refuelling stations will be key learnings from the Fyshwick pilot project.
Hydrogen will be created onsite at ActewAGL’s low-emission transport hub in Mildura St, Fyshwick. It will be created using a Proton Exchange Membrane electrolysis process which uses town water and renewable energy from the grid.
Please note the construction of the station has been delayed due to COVID-19. The below schedule is indicative and subject to change.
Phase one May–June 2019: Project in design
Phase two Q1-Q3 2020: Construction of hydrogen infrastructure
Phase three Q4 2020: Hydrogen refuelling station operational
Phase four 2021: Assess the commercial opportunity of introducing hydrogen as a vehicle fuel source