Hydrogen powered bus on road.

In an Australian first, construction has begun for a $23 million integrated hydrogen fuel cell research and development facility at Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus.

The project will include the construction of a new 2200㎡ facility with specialised fuel cell assembly and testing equipment, a heavy vehicle integration bay, training facilities and a multi-functional space for education and demonstration activities.

Deakin will also partner with Warrnambool Bus Lines to support converting their bus fleet from diesel to hydrogen fuel cell buses, in the first public bus deployment of its kind in Australia.

Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, visited a sod turning ceremony at the location of the Hycel Technology Hub site, a cornerstone facility within Deakin’s hydrogen research and innovation program.

“Deakin’s focus on fuel technology will have a direct benefit to the people of Warrnambool, and the entire state, as the Deakin campus moves from gas to hydrogen, and the Warrnambool Bus Lines fleet becomes powered by clean energy,” Ms Tierney said.

The Victorian Government will contribute $9 million to the project, which it claims will support up to 200 jobs over the life of the project, including around 50 construction jobs and 16 in the energy sector.

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin, said the facility would showcase the university’s expertise in both technology and education.

“Deakin is combining its expertise in science, technology and education to meet the needs of Australia’s emerging hydrogen industry. Our Warrnambool Campus will be a hydrogen precinct of research, innovation and training,” Prof Martin said.

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