Australia is set to have its first hydrogen (H2) refuelling station as plans have been revealed which will see garbage trucks in Moreland run on 100% renewable and sustainable H2 – and it will be fully operational by early 2020.

Moreland City Council has teamed up with experts at H2U to develop the first commercial-scale H2 refuelling station in Australia and the state government will contribute $1m to see the project come to life. The station will produce H2 from 100% renewable energy using an on-site solar plant and grid-sourced wind power.

The project, which was first unveiled at the 2017 Australasian Fleet Managers Conference and Exhibition back in May, will provide a test-bed to a pilot fleet of waste vehicles powered by 100% renewable H2. International vehicle manufacturer CNH Industrial is set to develop the H2 fuel cell trucks.

The initiative is expected to create up to 15 ongoing full-time jobs and has the potential to generate more than 100 indirect jobs.

Helen Davidson, Moreland Mayor, said a project of this kind aims to revoluntionise how councils across the globe operate, particularly in the waste collection sector.

She continued, “With the trucks to be built locally, the council can continue its transition away from fossil diesel fuel and toward renewable H2 for all our heavy fleet vehicles.”

Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, said the initiative demonstrated the potential of renewable energy to address greenhouse gas emissions from heavy fleet operations, adding, “I hope other councils look at this project and see its potential for replication across Victoria.”

Construction of the refuelling station is expected to start early next year and be fully operational – including 12 zero-emission waste collection vehicles – by early 2020.