The rail freight operator plans to put four hydrogen-fuelled primer movers on road in the city of Townsville.

By Shardul Sharma

Queensland government will give A$5mn ($3.25mn) to rail freight operator Aurizon to put hydrogen-fuelled primer movers on road in the city of Townsville, it said on September 30.

“Townsville heavy vehicles could soon be trucking-on with hydrogen thanks to up to A$5mn from the Palaszczuk government, for new prime movers and a refuelling facility,” the government said.

Deputy premier and minister for state development Steven Miles said Aurizon was a successful applicant through round two of the A$35mn Hydrogen Industry Development Fund (HIDF).

The announcement comes after the release of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, the state government’s plan for a clean energy future for Queensland.

“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,” the minister said.

Aurizon 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,” he added.

The funding will assist Aurizon to look at replacing diesel-powered trucks with new technology hydrogen fuel cell electric heavy vehicles.

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. It plans to build a refuelling station in Townsville and source hydrogen from Ark Energy, a unit of Korea Zinc.

Ark Energy, Hanwha Impact and SK Gas last week signed an MoU for international green energy exports from North Queensland.