The Victorian Government has announced a new $10 million hydrogen hub in Melbourne’s south east, set to create hundreds of jobs and help develop new clean energy technologies.

The Swinburne University of Technology Victorian Hydrogen Hub (VH2) will be a major national precinct to explore new hydrogen technologies, including clean energy vehicles and hydrogen storage containers.

The hub will provide opportunities to students, researchers and industry and be a place where the community can learn about hydrogen as a sustainable energy source.

Victorian Minister for Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the facility would stimulate Australia’s hydrogen sector and establish Victoria as a leader in developing clean, more efficient and reliable energy sources.

“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,” Mr Tierney said.

VH2 will create about 300 new full-time jobs, with half its PhD and Masters scholarships to be awarded to women to boost female participation in the 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,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

Construction will begin in early 2022 and take about 18 months, with a twin facility slated for Stuttgart in Germany, fostering an Australian-first international hydrogen development partnership.

VH2 is a key component of the Victorian Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Industry Development Plan, which is due to be released in coming weeks and will set the framework for building a thriving hydrogen economy over the next decade.

Swinburne University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pascale Quester, said, “We’re grateful to the Victorian Government and our partners for their support as we work for advancements in hydrogen technology and focus on wider technological advancements for Victoria, Australia and the world.”

Fueling hydrogen partnerships

This project was funded through the $350 million Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund which is supporting universities with capital works, research infrastructure projects and applied research focused on boosting Victoria’s productivity and economy as the state recovers from the pandemic.

The funding enables CSIRO to partner with Swinburne University of Technology to support the VH2. Under the partnership, CSIRO will receive more than $1 million towards the development of a refuelling station to fuel and test hydrogen vehicles.

The refuelling station, to be located at CSIRO’s Clayton campus in Victoria, is a key milestone in the development of CSIRO’s national Hydrogen Industry Mission, which aims to support Australia’s clean hydrogen industry – estimated to create more than 8,000 jobs, generate $11 billion a year in GDP and support a low emissions future.

CSIRO Executive Director, Growth, Nigel Warren, said, “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.

“The refueller is a significant step towards removing that barrier.”

The refueller project will demonstrate a fleet trial for CSIRO hydrogen vehicles with the potential for expansion, providing refuelling opportunities to other zero emission Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) in the local area.

CSIRO is engaging with vehicle companies such as Toyota Australia to support the future adoption and supply of FCEVs in Australia.

Toyota Australia’s Manager of Future Technologies, Matt MacLeod, said, “Toyota Australia is delighted to support the development of this new hydrogen refuelling station in Victoria with next-generation Mirai FCEVs.

“This is a significant step towards having the necessary refuelling infrastructure to help grow hydrogen opportunities in Australia.

“We look forward to working closely with CSIRO and their partners on this exciting project.”

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