Qld backs hydrogen fuel cell facility

24th November 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland government, through the Invested in Queensland programme, will back the region’s first hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing facility.

Australian energy technology company LAVO Hydrogen Technology and its partner Nedstack will establish the A$15-million facility, which will initially manufacture proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology for use in LAVO’s world-first Hydrogen Energy Storage System (HESS).

The facility will expand to produce a range of fuel cells to meet the growing domestic and international demand required for the hydrogen economy. 

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick said construction of the new facility would begin in early 2022 and was expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

“This is one of the first projects to receive support through our Invested in Queensland programme, and the jobs to come from this are significant,” Dick said.

“Up to 200 construction jobs will be created over the next 12 months, and once fuel cell production ramps up there will be almost 170 operational jobs supported here by 2026.

“The fuel cells will be used in the world’s first hydrogen energy storage system for homes and businesses, developed in Australia by LAVO and the University of New South Wales.

“LAVO’s hydrogen technology has generated considerable customer interest here in Australia and overseas, and this new facility will allow the company to export Queensland-made products to the world,” Dick said.

The LAVO HESS is an integrated hybrid hydrogen battery that can be combined with rooftop solar to store 40 kWh of electricity, enough energy to power a typical household for two days.

Dick said partnering with companies like LAVO was part of the government’s Covid recovery plan to propel Queensland’s next phase of economic growth.

“By supporting this sort of innovation and unlocking greater private investment, we expect to create 5 000 jobs over the life of the Invested in Queensland programme,” he said.

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said today’s announcement was a major step towards the development of an economically sustainable and competitive hydrogen industry in Queensland.

“With groundbreaking projects like this and the recent announcement by Fortescue Future Industries to establish one of the world’s largest hydrogen equipment manufacturing facilities in Gladstone, Queensland is on track to become a global hydrogen superpower,” he said.

CEO and executive director of LAVO Alan Yu said the company was excited to be manufacturing the fuel cells in Australia under a joint venture agreement with Netherlands-based Nedstack, developer of the fuel cells.

“Through our research and development, we are taking existing fuel cell technology and introducing integrated solutions to make hydrogen possible for everyday use and for a much wider audience,” Yu said.

“We will be working to maximise the use of local suppliers in the manufacturing process and will be supplying both domestic and international markets across the residential, off-grid, telecommunications and commercial sectors.”

While LAVO’s current focus is on establishing the fuel cell facility, the company is also proposing to develop more advanced manufacturing capabilities in Queensland by 2024.

This includes the assembly of additional hydrogen-based powered units and other hydrogen components such as electrolysers and hydride vessel production.