Works have begun on Warrnambool's multi-million dollar hydrogen research facility with construction expected to finish in 2023.
Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney today joined Deakin University vice-chancellor Iain Martin and industry leaders to turn the first sod on Australia's pilot fuel cell research facility.
The 2200-square-metre project will facilitate 50 jobs during construction and provide a further 150 employment opportunities.
It's hoped the project will accommodate both specialised fuel cell assembly and testing equipment and a multi-functional space for education and demonstration activities.
Plans are underway for the technology to be integrated into a 12-vehicle hydrogen-powered fleet for Warrnambool Bus Line.
Minister Tierney said the development was a win for the region.
"Today is a significant peg in the ground," she said.
"This is the biggest hydrogen project in regional Australia and I think Warrnambool people should be very, very proud of that."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Professor Iain Martin said the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed works but the project's future was bright.
"The challenges with COVID is that it's taken us longer than we would've liked to get to the point of turning the sod," he said.
"Just like almost every project at the moment the implications of people and global supply change shortages impacted on this but none of that has taken away from the passion of people to deliver on this."
He said there remained plenty of potential for further partnerships.
"Is there a prospect of linking up with VicTrack around greening up some of the propulsion on regional rail transport? All of that has potential in the future," professor Martin said.
He said the project's delivery was crucial given the region's unique assets.
"The south-west of Victoria is absolutely in a unique position to do this," professor Martin said.
"To have a hydrogen hub you need to have community acceptance, industry backing and two key natural resources - plentiful renewable energy and sufficient water.
"We have all three, which gives us a huge opportunity."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.