Hydrogen in heavy trucking – Developments in Oceania

In Oceania, per capita CO2 emissions from transport are more than twice the global average. Freight transport – a particularly carbon-intense activity – rose 28% between 2010 and 2015. Challenging terrain, extreme weather conditions, and long distances make commercial transport with diesel trucks particularly inefficient, and thus provide a key opportunity in transitioning towards zero-emissions. The regions of Oceania must prioritise the transport sector on their path to decarbonisation.

The support for hydrogen as a decarbonisation solution is fortunately already strong, thanks to both governmental and grassroots organisations. In 2019, New Zealand published its Green Paper – A Vision for Hydrogen, which focused on the potential for exporting hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources. Shortly thereafter, Australia’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources revealed its National Hydrogen Strategy, announcing the goal to drive hydrogen production and adoption by 2030. Between funding packages, government incentives, and structural changes of government institutions – Western Australia recently created a Minister of Hydrogen position – hydrogen is poised to play a significant role in decarbonizing the region.

The overlap of hydrogen support and significant freight transport activity positions Oceania as a promising region for hydrogen fuel cell-powered commercial vehicles to take hold. In 2020 alone, almost 20,000 new commercial vehicles were registered in Australia and New Zealand; the new vehicles cover a breadth of applications ranging from heavy trucks to vocational vehicles used for municipal activities – think garbage collection or street cleaning. The significant governmental support for hydrogen means these government contract-backed vehicles lead the introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles in the area.

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