An artist's impression of the new hydrogen production plant

Camry factory turned into $7.4 million hydrogen production plant

Riley Riley

Toyota’s Melbourne manufacturing site will be turned into a hydrogen centre at a cost of $7.4 million.

The site at Altona in Melbourne’s west was once the place where cars like the Camry were built, but like Ford and Holden the company has moved all production off shore.

The cost of the project is being shared by Toyota and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), at $4.3 million and $3.1 million respectively.

Toyota says the Hydrogen Centre which will include Australia’s first commercial grade hydrogen refuelling station is part of a larger plan to transform the former Altona site into a Centre of Excellence.

As part of the Hydrogen Centre project, existing manufacturing infrastructure will be re-purposed into Victoria’s first integrated hydrogen site, complete with electrolyser to produce hydrogen, commercial grade hydrogen refuelling station and an education centre with live demonstrations.

ARENA is an independent Federal government agency, set up in 2012 to manage Australia’s renewable energy programs, with the objective of increasing the supply and competitiveness of Australian renewable energy sources.

Chief Executive Officer Darren Miller said Toyota’s Hydrogen Centre would demonstrate hydrogen as a viable fuel source for transport and as an energy storage medium.

“Toyota is helping to pave the way for more renewably powered vehicles in Australia, where the uptake of electric vehicles has been slower than other countries.

“The demonstration of low cost hydrogen production and distribution is key to the uptake of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles in areas such as truck, bus and government fleets.

“Australia holds a competitive advantage to play a global role in the emerging hydrogen export market due to our existing expertise and infrastructure. We’re excited to see Toyota add their skills to the mix and be a major player in increasing the reach of hydrogen applications in different sectors,” Mr Miller said.

Toyota Australia’s President and CEO Matt Callachor said the Hydrogen Centre was a step towards meeting the company’s target of zero CO2 emissions from sites and vehicles by 2050.

“This is a very exciting time for Toyota Australia. Today’s announcement with ARENA aligns with our global drive to promote sustainable mobility and to play a leading role in the transition to a decarbonised future,” Mr Callachor said.

“Hydrogen has the potential to play a pivotal role in the future because it can be used to store and transport energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources to power many things, including vehicles like the Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV).

“Right now, the biggest factor to the success of hydrogen being widely available is the lack of infrastructure. The sooner we move to a zero emissions society, the better, and Toyota is committed to making this a reality.”

Construction on the Hydrogen Centre is expected to start this year, with the education centre expected to be open by December 2019, and the electrolyser and hydrogen refuelling station fully operational by late 2020.

Once up and running, the hydrogen refuelling station will be able to fill a vehicle, like Toyota’s Mirai Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), in between three and five minutes.

As part of its ongoing hydrogen advocacy efforts, Toyota Australia has been providing Toyota Mirai FCEVs to local governments and commercial organisations through its hydrogen loan program.

The Mirai hydrogen fuelled electric vehicle.

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