Investigating the viability of hydrogen fuel for heavy vehicle use
The NSW Government’s Hydrogen Strategy demonstrates that the state’s planning for hydrogen is advanced and many hydrogen industry participants are ready to invest in NSW. This project builds the momentum and involves investigating the potential hydrogen fuel for heavy vehicle market size and the likely first movers. It will also support the NSW Government’s Hydrogen Highway Initiative, identifying the distribution model for hydrogen and its safe operation in Australia.
This project will identify key segments of the heavy vehicle fleet that are likely to transition to hydrogen fuel technology and provide a roadmap for the NSW government to explore the opportunity this may present. Internationally, hydrogen is gaining market share with many countries heavily investing in the transition to cleaner alternative fuels.
It will also draw on the findings from international trials and experiences and lay out a pathway for New South Wales’ adoption of hydrogen fuel for heavy vehicles in the freight sector.
Hydrogen as a developing industry has the potential to deliver a wide range of skilled jobs, research, innovation, advanced manufacturing and economic growth to NSW. As a fuel, hydrogen provides an additional opportunity for onshore manufacturing, to reduce Australia’s reliance on international fossil fuel imports.
Given the transport sector is Australia’s largest end-user of energy (Australian Energy Update 2020, Commonwealth of Australia, 2020) the potential role of hydrogen is evident, particularly for heavy vehicles in the freight sector. The global demand for hydrogen is set to grow and the National Hydrogen Strategy (COAG Energy Council, 2019) recognises the need to identify key infrastructure opportunities, utilise resources including water, energy provision, mobilise skilled labour and, wherever possible, to build on existing infrastructure both physical and intellectual.
The NSW government has released the NSW Hydrogen Strategy as part of the Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030, which identifies Port Kembla as the first of the state’s hydrogen hubs to be developed. Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) is investigating pathways to reduce emissions in all sectors, which includes a role for low and zero emission vehicles (ZEV) in the NSW transport fleet.
Source: Department of Planning, Industry and Environment | NSW Hydrogen Strategy
Many key stakeholders in the hydrogen industry are already located in NSW, including manufacturers of hydrogen fuel cell trucks, and several mainstream transport operators. In addition to these, councils such as Fairfield, Wollongong, and Cessnock city councils have all set aims to establish hydrogen plants in their respective areas.
The goal of this project is to investigate and explore viable pathways for the NSW heavy vehicle sector, to transition to a zero-emissions future that leverages the opportunities of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle (HFCV) technologies. The project will contribute to the current technical understanding, building on international examples and optimising for the NSW environment.
The objectives of this project are:
- Collate and analyse data (qualitative and quantitative) on the international experience, including state-of-the-industry and planning for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, new and emerging technology options and local industry readiness.
- Differentiate vehicle type and task in NSW to identify market demand (i.e. investigating the market for long-haul heavy-duty freight vehicles versus garbage trucks, concrete agitators and other heavy vehicles) and scalable options that will deliver the most benefit to assist in prioritising the refuelling placements.
- Identify barriers to market adoption, including cost, availability of vehicles, infrastructure constraints, safety, policy levers and regulations.
- Demonstrate the hydrogen opportunity for the heavy vehicle sector, its potential economic, environmental and operational benefits as well as its direct and indirect financial costs.
- Identify the pathway for the NSW Government to assist early adopters and lay the foundations for the infrastructure necessary to scale adoption in line with the development of a broader NSW Net Zero Emissions Freight Policy.
What might be next?
This project involves two phases, with potential for a third phase and trial. The outcomes of Stage 1 (the first two phases) may feed into an investment case to establish deployments or proof of concept projects to be carried out as Stage 2 (a separate project).
UPDATE MARCH 2023: Final report soon
This project has been completed, and a wrap-up article, complete with a downloadable copy of the final report, will be published soon.