Industry News

Alternative Fuels Summit reinforces transformative potential for Australian heavy transport

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) hosted an Alternative Fuels Summit this week which saw key stakeholders from various sectors explore how the transport and logistics industry can embrace alternate fuels while also meeting Australia’s freight needs.

Attendees gathered at CMV Truck and Bus in Derrimut, Victoria, on Tuesday 23 August 2022.

Miles Crawford, CMV Truck & Bus CEO, opened the event, officially welcoming the delegates. He is optimistic about innovations in Australia’s trucking industry and emphasised the educational aspects of the day with regards to electric and hydrogen technologies.

“The massive transformation in vehicle propulsion systems is largely all ahead of us,” he said.

“We’re anticipating that we will see more change in the next 12 years at CMV than in our previous 88 years.

“That’s the next 12 years to our 100th-year anniversary. And that goes all the way back to 1934 when we had horse traders on the hooks, trading horses on tractors and trucks, and buses for that matter.”

‘The Big Picture – Why Change Our Energy Source’ featured a keynote address from Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio.

The Alternative Fuels Summit, according to D’Ambrosio, is a reflection of the incredible opportunities in the clean energy transition for the freight, logistics and transport sectors.

“In Victoria the transport sector accounts for around 25 per cent of all of our state’s carbon emissions,” she said.

“As it is globally that figure is growing. It is the transport sector that is the next big challenge for our decarbonisation agenda.

“Governments are aware of the need to work collaboratively and in sync with the transport sector. The smoothest transition.

“To achieve our state’s interim goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and ultimately reaching net zero by 2050 we have to slash transport emissions.

“We know that meeting this goal will require a range of technologies including both battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.”

Last year, the Victorian Government released a zero emissions vehicle roadmap which was backed with a $100 million package. By 2030, the desired goal is for half of all light vehicle sales to be zero emissions vehicles.

Looking at renewable hydrogen as a substitute to fossil fuel, D’Ambrosio said price point will be vital to see the uptake of alternative fuel especially in heavy transport.

“Hydrogen producing renewable energy is an extremely versatile energy carrier and that has the potential to touch on all parts of our economy and energy system,” said D’Ambrosio.

“We anticipate that the hydrogen sector will create around 7,500 jobs and add around $11 billion annually to Australia’s economy by 2050.

“To be at the forefront of that thriving new economy we must scale up, skill up and build the right supply chains.”

The Victorian Government has a plan with this game-changing technology including its application as an alternative fuel source. The plan includes long-term jobs, the export of renewable hydrogen and driving innovation. Furthermore, hydrogen is expected to have a transformative impact on heavy transportation.

“The development and application of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles will be a critically important part of integrating renewable hydrogen into the transport sector,” said D’Ambrosio. “A vehicle with a tank of hydrogen has comparable range to a petrol or a diesel engine. That’s a good start.”

Renewable hydrogen compared to diesel is also expected to be cost-competitive, while fuel cells are often a lighter option with the benefit of offering increased payload.

D’Ambrosio agrees that a variety of options to fit the right circumstances will be key for the transport sector when it comes to adopting new technologies.

Other talking points included the Hume Highway hydrogen project, hydrogen refuelling stations and fleets engaged in large orders of zero emissions vehicles.

More to follow.

Viva Energy Australia also presented its vision for future fuels via Chief Business Development & Sustainability Officer, Lachlan Pfeiffer.

On the topic of decarbonising land transport, ARENA Director – Business Development and Transactions, Alex Grant, also offered a few words.

‘Future Fuels’ saw Viva Energy Australia Future Fuels Manager, Sandra Lau, discuss hydrogen from concept to reality.

Volvo Group Australia President, Martin Merrick, spoke about leading the transformation in this space.

GET Electric Chief Operating Officer, Rob Thomson, explored the electric transition.

‘Transitioning to Alternative Fuels’ saw the panel elaborate on ways to help transport operators to decarbonise as well as provide further context to this dynamic topic.

‘OE Manufacturers – Building Equipment For Alternative Fuels’ enabled Volvo, Daimler, Hyzon and SEA Electric to unveil their electromobility and net zero plans.

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