Victoria is set to further bolster its production of green energy under a new $34.9 million plan to create two new projects related to advanced battery research and the development of hydrogen fuel technology.
The state government has partnered with Deakin University, the Commonwealth Government, and project partners including Warrnambool Bus Lines, PACCAR Kenworth, Boron Molecular, Future Fuels CRC, Calix+ and SensorPlex to develop the two research hubs.
The fund, part of the state government’s $350 million Higher Education State Investment Fund, will see a new Battery Technology Research and Innovation Hub 2.0 set up at Deakin University’s Burwood campus in Melbourne.
The facility features a testing lab and a production line to complete the research and the manufacturing of batteries using lithium and sodium products.
The products will be developed to meet the requirements in defence, agriculture, disaster zones and health settings. It will enhance the work of BatTRI-Hub 1.0 which has already created valuable products for industry, including Toyota in Japan.
Construction is scheduled to begin at a site near Deakin’s Burwood campus in January 2022 and completion in May 2022, with research and innovation projects to be underway earlier, hosted on campus.
Victorian Government is also investing $14.2 million to establish one of the country’s first regional hydrogen hubs in Warrnambool.
The Hycel Technology Hub in Deakin’s Warrnambool campus will specialise in the development, testing, training, demonstration and manufacture of hydrogen fuel technology.
Applications of research outcomes will include fuel cells for transport and especially for heavy vehicles, as well as assessing the suitability for natural gas pipelines to carry hydrogen for housing and industry.
As part of this, Deakin is partnering with Warrnambool Bus Lines to develop an optimisation model for hydrogen refuelling logistics, which supports a plan to transition buses from diesel to hydrogen.
Construction is scheduled to begin at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus in December 2021 and completion in December 2022 with research innovation and design of education programs to be underway in late 2021.
Deakin Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Julie Owens said the two projects will support Victoria’s green economy through energy storage innovation, paving the way for Australia’s clean energy future.
“The funding announced today will allow Deakin to further strengthen our expertise and impact in these areas by creating world-class technology capability, and linking this to opportunities for industry, located right here in Victoria,” she said.
The Victorian Government recently sought feedback from industries, businesses and the community on alternative forms of reducing the state’s reliance on gas as part of the state’s goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and half carbon emissions by 2030.
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio this week launched the Gas Substitution Roadmap consultation paper, which outline the state government’s plan to decarbonise the gas sector.