Australia’s first hydrogen fuel cell R&D center under construction

The first fully integrated hydrogen fuel cell research and development facility in Australia has commenced construction on the Deakin University campus in Warrnambool, as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s continuous support for fuel cell and renewable technology.

Today, Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney visited Deakin’s Warrnambool campus to turn the first sod on the Hycel Technology Hub site, a key facility within the university’s $23 million hydrogen research and innovation program.

Warrnambool will host the building of one of Australia’s first regional hydrogen hubs as part of the Hycel Technology Hub project. The research facility will be responsible for the design, assembly, testing, and demonstration of fuel cells, with an emphasis on creating fuel cells for transport and heavy vehicles, as well as trains and boats.

The project will involve the development of a new 2200 square metre facility on the Warrnambool campus, complete with specialized fuel cell assembly and testing equipment, a heavy vehicle integration bay, training facilities, and a multi-functional area for educational and demonstration purposes.

Deakin will also cooperate with Warrnambool Bus Lines to enable the conversion of their vehicle fleet from diesel to hydrogen fuel cell buses, marking the first deployment of this type of public bus in Australia.

The transportation industry in Victoria is responsible for 25% of the state’s emissions, which is why the Labor Government has set out a Zero Emissions Vehicle Roadmap, which includes all new buses being zero emission by 2025 and 50% of new car sales being zero emission by 2030.

The Labor Government’s contribution to the project is $9 million. Throughout the duration of the project, the Hycel Technology Hub will support up to 200 employment, including approximately 50 in the construction industry and 16 in the energy sector.

The Deakin grant is a component of the $350 million Labor Government investment in local institutions through the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund. The fund assists universities with capital expenditures, applied research, and research infrastructure to help employment and the state’s economic recovery from the coronavirus outbreak.