Hydrogen Mobility Australia is encouraging the Australian government to integrate hydrogen mobility in mass transit fleets across the country.

Addressing the House Infrastructure, Transport and Cities Committee at its inquiry into automated mass transit earlier this week, CEO Claire Johnson said hydrogen technology is suitable for application across the entire transport spectrum.

But she said government coordination is holding this technology back from introduction in Australia.

Exclusive interview with Claire Johnson

Focussing on hydrogen buses and trains, due to the mass transit focus of the inquiry, Johnson told the committee that hydrogen buses are one of the most mature fuel cell technologies in the market today with more than 15 years of on road performance.

“They are currently operational throughout Europe, Asia and the US improving air quality, reducing CO2 emissions and minimising noise pollution,” she said.

“Australian companies such as Transit Systems, the operator of the London hydrogen bus fleet, are actively looking at the opportunity to deploy hydrogen buses in Australia.”

“They and other companies are investing in hydrogen buses for many reasons, but the main factor is the ability to replace diesel or CNG buses without significant changes to operation or service.”

“Hydrogen buses represent a pathway to zero emissions mobility with no compromise. Additionally, they have been proven in real-world conditions and are a fully commercialised technology so present a tried and tested platform for the integration of connectivity features to support automation.”

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Source: Hydrogen Mobility Australia

Moving on to hydrogen trains, Johnson said they represent a direct replacement for diesel rolling stock.

“They also require significantly less infrastructure investment than electric trains where the electrification of existing lines is needed to enable their introduction,” she highlighted.

“What is holding this technology back from introduction to Australia is government coordination –coordination of infrastructure, vehicles and customers. Alignment is needed between these three aspects to realise a zero-emission vehicle sector in Australia, as well as the connected technology these drivetrains can utilise.”

To address this, Johnson said Hydrogen Mobility Australia’s submission calls for:

  • Federal Government coordination of procurement across public and private mass transit operators to enable cost savings through mass purchase and flow on demand for refuelling infrastructure
  • Introduction of zero emission vehicle targets for public operated or contracted mass transit fleets to stimulate vehicle up take and development of an initial customer base
  • Introduction of a national light and heavy vehicle CO2 emission standard to encourage zero-emission technology purchase and to accelerate the supply of vehicles to Australia
  • Development of a zero-emission vehicle infrastructure strategy and development of suitable funding models, including approaches for the deployment of hydrogen refuelling stations to support back to base mass transit operators

Concluding, Johnson told the committee, “We recommend the above is coordinated by a dedicated office for zero emission vehicles providing a centralised point for all mobility related policy and regulatory matters due to the complexity of the space.”

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