Aurizon wins $5m grant to trial hydrogen trucks in Townsville


Rail freight giant Aurizon will be among the first transport companies in Australia to trial hydrogen fuel cell powered prime movers, thanks to a Queensland state government handout.

Deputy Premier Stephen Miles and Energy Minister Mick de Brenni announced funding of up to $5m today at a media event at Aurizon’s Townsville operation.

Aurizon is undertaking a $12m trial to replace its diesel trucks with hydrogen vehicles, beginning from late 2024.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said Aurizon plans to use four hydrogen-powered prime movers to haul goods in and around its freight operations at Stuart Terminal and the Port of Townsville.

Aurizon is joining the Townsville-based Sun Metals zinc refinery which is also moving to use hydrogen trucks and where a hydrogen manufacturing plant is being built adjacent to its Stuart refinery.

Just last week Ark Energy signed the first MOU for international green energy experts from North Queensland.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said Aurizon was a successful applicant through round two of the $35 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund (HIDF).

“Townsville and North Queensland are big winners in Queensland’s Energy and Jobs Plan, lining the region up to become a renewable energy powerhouse,” Miles said.

“Aurizon’s project will put four hydrogen-fuelled prime movers on the road in Townsville and create more opportunities for other businesses to convert their transport fleets to new technology fuel.”

Minister for Energy, Hydrogen and Renewables Mick de Brenni said the clean energy transformation in Townsville had already generated around $800 million investment in more than 400MW of large-scale renewable energy, creating more than 900 jobs.

“The plan will create 64,000 jobs in clean energy infrastructure including new skilled jobs in construction of transmission and renewable energy projects,” said de Brenni.

“Connecting Mount Isa to the transmission network represents a unique opportunity to support a clean energy industrial ecosystem from the North West Minerals Province to Townsville, growing opportunities for jobs in the clean energy economy.”

Mr de Brenni said round two was the HIDF’s biggest investment so far in Queensland’s growing hydrogen supply chain.

“Aurizon’s project is another important step on Townsville’s journey to becoming a global green hydrogen superpower,” he said.

Aurizon managing director and CEO Andrew Harding said renewable hydrogen offers enormous opportunities to Australia’s transport industry.

“Renewable hydrogen is one of the emerging energy options that will assist industry to decarbonise operations throughout the supply chain while remaining cost competitive,” Harding said.

“Aurizon is Australia’s largest rail freight company and renewable hydrogen will play an important role in enabling us to reach our target of net zero operational emissions by 2050.

“Queensland Government funding will assist us to look at replacing diesel-powered trucks with new technology hydrogen fuel cell electric heavy vehicles.”

Member for Mundingburra and North Queensland hydrogen champion Les Walker said Townsville’s publicly owned port was well positioned.

“The prime movers are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 1000 tonnes per year, representing a major reduction in its use of diesel fuel for road transport,” Walker said.

“Aurizon plans to build a refuelling station in Townsville and source hydrogen from another company that’s also progressing renewable hydrogen use in the north, Ark Energy.”

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