The Cefc has announced around AU$12.5 million, its first investment through the Advancing Hydrogen Fund, to help Ark Energy Corporation produce green hydrogen to power what are expected to be the world’s heaviest fuel cell electric trucks.
The Cefc commitment, on behalf of the Australian Government, will finance five purpose-built, zero-emissions trucks and the construction of hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure to fuel them, helping deliver a more sustainable zinc supply chain.
The hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks will deliver zinc ore from Townsville Port in Queensland to the Sun Metals Refinery, where they will refuel with green hydrogen produced on-site before taking zinc ingots back to the port in a 30 km clean energy round trip. The 140 tonnes rated Hyzon Motors hydrogen fuel cell trucks are expected to be the first of their kind in Australia, replacing their diesel equivalents in the Townsville Logistics fleet.
The first phase will initially focus on developing a domestic hydrogen industry in Queensland to export green hydrogen to Asia. It reflects the broader sustainability strategy of the Korea Zinc group, including Sun Metals, which has joined the global RE100 initiative and aims to be the first refinery in the world to produce green zinc.
Ark Energy’s SunHQ hydrogen hub will include a 1 MW PEM electrolyser, compressors, storage and refuelling infrastructure that will produce up to 158 tonnes/year of green hydrogen. It will be powered by renewable energy from the Sun Metals 124 MWac solar farm at the zinc refinery.
The project is also supported by $3.02 million funding from Arena, which has announced conditional approval, to be paid upon the commissioning of the refuelling facility and delivery of the five fuel cell electric trucks.
Ian Learmonth, Cefc CEO, said, “A lack of suitable vehicles in Australia poses another significant hurdle to decarbonisation. These unique Hyzon trucks will be custom-built for Australian conditions, fast-tracking the switch to clean energy in Australia’s ultra-heavy transport sector by several years.”
Rupert Maloney, Cefc Head of Hydrogen, added, “This investment also enables us to lift our ambitions even further and support emissions reduction in the carbon-intensive zinc supply chain.”
Daniel Kim, Ark Energy CEO, noted, “To help build demand for hydrogen, we need to supply it as cheaply as possible, which is why the CEFC’s support is so critical.”
Dr Fiona Simon, CEO of the Australian Hydrogen Council (AHC), commented, “Queensland has chased the hydrogen opportunity with gusto, and this is just another example of Queensland delivering on its ambition to develop a world-leading hydrogen industry”
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Cefc) is an Australian Government-owned Green Bank established to facilitate increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector. It invested in hydrogen technology through the Innovation Fund, with an AU$ 750k commitment to Hysata to develop its innovative electrolyser production technology.