There’s Good News and There’s Bad News

there’s good news and there’s bad news

There is some progress being made in the inevitable move across from the use of fossil fuels in road transport, but as is always the case in Australia, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The feasibility of alternative power for road transport becomes more of a reality every week, as evidenced in PowerTorque’s regular Alt-Power reports.

This week, the good news story is about the Clean Energy Finance Corporation helping, with $12.5 million, to fund a project using hydrogen powered trucks in Townsville to move zinc ore from the port to a refinery.

The grant is to build a green hydrogen electrolyser to power the trucks. The plant will use solar power to make electricity to power the electrolyser, which turns water into its two constituents hydrogen and oxygen. This hydrogen will be stored at the plant to refuel the trucks hauling the ore.

Not only will this be a zero emissions transport task, but it will also be a useful test bed for all the technology involved to see how it works in Australian conditions. At the same time it will be doing its bit to reduce carbon emissions.

On the other side of the coin the announcement by the Federal Government of its Future Fuels Strategy received a mixed welcome. Industries like the trucking industry need to see a real commitment to moving towards zero emissions backed up by real dollars.

There was some good news about the roll-out of some electric vehicle charging capacity, but not much more in terms of real money to make it easier for operators, who want to do the right thing and reduce emissions, to make the kind of investment required to make some real progress.

The Australian Trucking Association called for a stronger plan after the announcement. It called for a purchase price incentive which would bring forward the point where zero emission trucks are cost competitive.

The Electric Vehicle Council was distinctly unimpressed by the announcement, and pronounced it a ‘fizzer’. The EVC explained that something like minimum fuel efficiency standards like those set in the US and Europe would soon incentivise the population to move across to low emission technology and enable the alt-power vehicle sector to make real inroads in Australia, as it has done in so many other countries around the world.

On so many issues over the years, the Australian trucking industry has been an innovator and lead the world in improving efficiency and productivity. It seems strange to see that same industry being held back from being a world leader yet again, by a lack of imagination in Canberra.


there’s good news and there’s bad news