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This month, in July 2020, TfA Project Group proudly celebrates 25 years in operation! From humble beginnings out of a Brisbane suburban garage to a national, multi-disciplinary consultancy, we look forward to another successful 25 years ahead.

Although challenging times this year, we value our long term relationships with clients, high ratio of long term employees and also the many young graduates we have mentored along the way, many of whom now hold senior positions within our diverse group of clients.

We are as passionate as ever about the projects we deliver with quality and value at the forefront of our culture.

A foundation of TfA since its inception has been in servicing the downstream oil industry. This has included bulk petrochemical facilities (fuel depots and terminals, bitumen import and process facilities and lubricant blending plants), aviation, marina and mining fuel facilities, retail and commercial facilities including the development of well over 1,000 service stations, truck-stops and travel centre developments. We remain leading consultants in this industry to this day.

bulk fuel storage

Over the years, we have broadened our industry expertise and specialise in a range of other industries including renewable energy / biofuels, hazardous industry / dangerous goods and broader commercial / industrial forms of development.

Service Station Development

Our goal to provide a one-stop-shop to service the full life cycle of a project has seen our original project management, engineering and design drafting service now expanded to include full town planning, architectural, engineering (all major disciplines) and project management. Particularly over the last 10 years, this goal has been realised and has also allowed us to expand our national reach from our head office in Brisbane to our other offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Service Station Town Planning

Some of our major achievements over the last 25 years include:
• Establishing national service agreements with downstream oil industry clients to deliver our full suite of professional services
• Thriving in a dynamic retail fuel industry that has evolved significantly over the last 25 years
• Being at the forefront of the bio-energy industry (particularly in the development of biofuels and hydrogen) both of which we have been active in since the early 2000s
• Maintaining an excellent staff retention record with many long-term valued staff with 10 years plus service at TfA
• Successfully transitioning our management structure in 2016 to lay the foundations for another successful 25 years ahead

TfA Group engineers

Thank you to all our valued staff and clients for allowing us to maintain a successful operation for the last 25 years and well into the future!

TfA Group Sponsorship

Dangerous goods are found in virtually every home and business in Australia. They can be anything from the flammable aerosols used as deodorants, to aggressive industrial acids. Despite being common, dangerous goods pose major safety risks to people and the environment if they are mismanaged.

Understanding and properly managing the dangerous goods in your facility has never been more important. Following several major incidents, dangerous goods have recently been receiving increased attention and increased penalties for non-compliances. This article has been written by TfA Project Group, leading Dangerous Goods Consultants, to address the following questions:

1. What are dangerous goods?

2. What are your obligations for dangerous goods management

3. Where should you start if you want to improve your dangerous goods management

What are Dangerous Goods?

Dangerous goods generally fall under 9 possible classes, as defined in the Australian Dangerous Goods Code, with each class having its own storage and handling requirements. The classes are as follows:

  • Class 1 – Explosives
  • Class 2 – Gases
  • Class 3 – Flammable Liquids
  • Class 4 – Flammable Solids
  • Class 5 – Oxidising Substances and Organic Peroxides
  • Class 6 – Toxic and Infectious Substances
  • Class 7 – Radioactive Substances
  • Class 8 – Corrosive Substances
  • Class 9 – Miscellaneous Substances

Some goods may not fulfill the criteria of any of the classes but are still considered dangerous goods under the relevant legislation (e.g. diesel).

The prevalence of dangerous goods today cannot be understated. The table below provides some examples of commonly used dangerous goods for various applications.

dangerous good table and classes

Table 1: Common dangerous goods in select applications [1]

Dangerous goods storage and handling can take many forms, and the selected approach can be as important as the species of dangerous goods being stored. Figure 1 provides an example facility that show many of the common means of storing dangerous goods.

dangerous goods storage

Figure 1: Dangerous Goods Storage in Example Facility

What are Your Obligations?

The importance of managing dangerous goods is recognised by legislation across Australia. In October of 2019, new Victorian penalties were introduced for the mismanagement of dangerous good. Under new legislation, illegal storage and handling of dangerous goods could result in a 10-year jail term for individuals, and a $6.4 million fee for body corporates.

The overarching structure of the legislation is identical across the country, as summarised in the figure below.

Hierarchy of Dangerous Goods Requirements

Figure 2: Hierarchy of Dangerous Goods Requirements and Guidance

Australian Dangerous Goods Legislation

It is the responsibility of all person’s conducting a business or undertaking to comply with the relevant legislative requirements for dangerous goods management. These requirements will vary depending on the specifics of your facility. For example, in Victoria small quantities of many dangerous goods are not subject to the regulation if they are for residential use. On the opposite end of the spectrum, sites storing massive quantities of dangerous goods may need to register as a major hazard facility and would receive additional oversight.

The laws regarding dangerous goods vary amongst states and territories, although there are some commonly adopted national guidelines (e.g. The Australian Dangerous Goods Code). The law is stipulated at the highest level through the acts relevant to each state and territory (e.g. The Dangerous Goods Act 1985 in Victoria). Regulations applicable to each state and territory are made under the acts (e.g. Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2012 in Victoria). To complicate matters, dangerous goods which travel across state borders must meet the requirements of all relevant jurisdictions.

The table below provides an overview of the most prevalent legislation applicable to each state and territory for the management of dangerous goods. In some cases, additional requirements will apply for particular dangerous goods (e.g. specific legislation for explosives or radioactive substances), specific modes of transport (e.g. transport over air or sea) or other legislation (e.g. workplace health and safety regulations).

Examples of dangerous goods applicable regulation across Australia

Table 2: Examples of applicable regulation across Australia

Standards and Codes of Practice

The legislation often refers to codes of practice and standards for guidance on the management of dangerous goods. Compliance with standards and codes of practice is generally not required by law. However, they are valuable as practical advice for meeting your legal requirements. They represent the baseline level of acceptable practice and should followed unless there is an equal or better protection in place. If a standard is not followed without properly assessing and controlling the resulting risks, then the non-compliance can be used as evidence of dangerous goods mismanagement.

There are many standards applicable to the management of dangerous goods. Depending on the specifics of your facility, assessing and achieving compliance with all the relevant standards can be a complex undertaking. Some standards cover entire classes, whereas others cover only specific chemical species (e.g. ammonia) or dangerous goods held in specific conditions (e.g. cryogenic storage).

Where Do I Start?

The first step to best practice dangerous goods management is to understand your facility and its contents. The following 3 questions provides you with a strong start to understanding your dangerous goods requirements:

1. What dangerous goods you are storing?
2. How much are you storing of each of your dangerous goods?
3. How you are storing/handling your dangerous goods?

Many facilities will have a site manifest that clearly identifies the answers to all three of these questions.

What are you storing?

Each dangerous good stored on your site must have an SDS (Safety Data Sheet) that details it’s physical and chemical information. If this information is not available, then it is recommended that a dangerous goods audit be conducted immediately.

Whilst not always feasible, if a dangerous good pose a significant risk, it is worth considering either:

  1. Eliminating the storage of dangerous goods where possible; or alternatively
  2. Substituting dangerous goods for a less harmful substance.
How much are you storing?

Dangerous goods inventories should be kept to a minimum. That said, thousands of facilities around Australia require storage of large amounts of dangerous goods for regular use. Dangerous goods quantity will have a major impact on the requirements for compliance with legislation and in some cases will dictate your options for storage and handling.

How are you storing/handling your dangerous goods?

The standards clearly delineate between various dangerous goods storage methods. Requirements for compliance will vary depending on factors such as:

  • Are the dangerous goods in packages or in tanks?
  • Are the dangerous goods stored above ground or below ground?
  • Is the dangerous goods storage permanent or temporary?

Whilst no two facilities are identical, some of the most common non-compliances include:

  • Storing incompatible chemicals together
  • Not having the right electrical equipment for your zone
  • Out of date Safety Data Sheets
  • Not having an up to date manifest plan when required
  • Excessive quantities of chemicals stored for a storage method
  • Problems with storage area (e.g. ventilation)
  • Fire protection
  • Inadequate labelling of storage containers
Next Steps

Identifying your facilities dangerous goods storage and handling requirements requires a detailed understanding of the legislation, codes of practice, and relevant standards. It strongly recommended that expert advice is sought if there is any uncertainty on whether you are correctly managing your dangerous goods. A dangerous goods expert will be able to identify non-compliances and work with you to manage the risks in your facility.

TfA is a member of the Australasian Institute of Dangerous Goods Consultants and actively apply our expertise to projects where dangerous goods are involved.

We can help you identify and classify dangerous goods within your facility, conduct audits, undertake assessments and reports for authoritative bodies and incorporate changes into your existing designs.


Any queries in relation to this matter, please contact Ben Phillips, Director who would be happy to discuss further.

Telephone – 1300 794 300
Email – enquiry@tfa.com.au
Website – www.tfa.com.au

References

WorkSafe Victoria, “Commonly used dangerous goods,” 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/commonly-used-dangerous-goods

Minister for Workplace Safety, “Media Release (New Dangerous Goods Laws Pass Parliament),” 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/new-dangerous-goods-laws-pass-parliament

National Transport Commission, “Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road & Rail – Version 7.6,” 2018

Legislation as described in Table 1.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has prepared a draft Roadside Fuel Facilities Policy (draft RFF policy) to achieve a consistent standard of facility providing fuel and associated services, and to ensure that such facilities are meeting TMR’s objectives around road safety and driver rest areas.

The draft policy is intended to replace the existing Service Centre Policy (2013) and the associated Access Policy for Roadside Service Centre Facilities on Limited Access Roads.

The draft policy sets the parameters within which TMR will support Roadside Fuel Facilities (RFFs) on the State Controlled Road (SCR) network. TMR’s intention is to offer design guidance for RFF development, which has previously been left to the market and/or development assessment process.

It has implications for the future approval of white on blue advance warning signage and direct access onto defined limited access roads.  TfA Project Group was invited by TMR to provide formal comment on the draft RFF policy.  A summary is outlined below.

Insert alt text here

What is an RFF?

Prior to the new draft policy there were no benchmarks on minimum requirements for service stations and service centres. The intent of the new draft policy is to facilitate the safe, integrated and efficient use of highways and motorways on the SCR network by ensuring commercial fuel operators deliver services and facilities to benefit road users across Queensland. The policy sets minimum requirements for RFFs and outlines the parameters under which TMR will consider support for RFFs on the SCR network. The RFFs are divided into four categories as follows:

  1. Category 1: RFF Service Centre
  2. Category 2: RFF Remote Service Centre
  3. Category 3: RFF Service Station
  4. Category 4: RFF Unattended Facility

TMR’s intention is to create a network of defined ‘RFFs’ across Queensland’s major highways.  They will do this through their own EOI / ITO process or via a proponent led process.  To assist this process, they intend to create ‘RFF Plans’ which will identify specific sites and/or particular regions where they would like to see RFFs develop.

Why Apply to Become an RFF?

Under the draft policy, TMR indicate that sites that are formally classified by TMR as RFFs will benefit from the following:

  1. provided access to the SCR traffic stream
  2. included in TMR publications
  3. eligible to apply for White on Blue signage

The RFF classification will be used as a way to control which sites can apply for White on Blue signage and also, we believe, as a further means to restrict direct access onto ‘Limited Access Roads’ as defined under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994.

TfA’s Response – Key Issues

Whilst we support the rationale behind creating categories of development to give greater clarity and certainty around TMR’s approval of white on blue signage and direct highway access, there needs to be greater flexibility and a more ‘merits based’ assessment than what they are currently proposing under the draft policy.

Some key points we have highlighted to TMR in our submission are summarised below.

White on Blue Signage

One frustration for the industry over recent years has been TMR’s inconsistent interpretation of their own signage guidelines and as a result, some TMR regions are more flexible to approving white on blue signage than others.

TMR’s current draft RFF policy is calling for industry comment on whether the use of company logos should be included on the white on blue signage.

Our view, which is shared by many in the industry, is that the use of the company logos aids in alerting the travelling public to the specific type of uses / facilities within the site.  This is of benefit in reducing the need to check these facilities against a vehicle’s sat nav system or mobile phone.  Where the logos are placed on the sign in accordance with the dimensions specified within TMR’s Queensland Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices 2017 (MUTCD), they are not considered to cause visual clutter.

In our opinion, the benefit of having the logos to promote awareness to the travelling public outweighs any concern TMR may have on visual clutter.  Any issue / concern around visual clutter is more pronounced when the service centre operator needs to apply separately for a road corridor permit to erect a separate billboard sign.

TMR’s current draft RFF policy signage

Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads Signage

Limited Access Roads

Under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994, a state-controlled road may be declared a ‘limited access road’ in order to regulate access and egress points with the idea of improving traffic flow and safety.

Where there may be merit in limiting direct access to category 1 and 2 RFFs to limited access roads which are the major highways such as the Bruce Highway and Pacific Highway etc, TMR’s policy here overlooks the fact many limited access roads are also in suburban areas – some examples around Brisbane include stretches of Gympie Road, Beaudesert Road, Mount-Gravatt Capalaba Road and Old Cleveland Road.

The policy therefore needs to allow for more flexibility in its approach to access onto limited access roads.

Insert alt text here

RFF Categories

The draft policy outlines minimum design / layout requirements for each category.  As currently drafted, these are overly prescriptive in our view and we have provided examples to TMR where amendments should be considered.  Examples include an unrealistic interpretation of what minimum requirements are to be provided for category 3 (service station) such as heavy vehicle parking, and the effective ‘prohibiting’ of the sale of petroleum at a category 4 (unattended facility).

RFF Plans

The draft policy indicates TMR intend to develop RFF Plans for specific sites and/or particular regions.  We have asked TMR for more detail on the nature of these plans, the timing around their release and the extent to which industry may be consulted.

Relation with Development Approval Process

It is unclear whether TMR plans to incorporate the draft RFF policy and guideline into the development approval process under the Planning Act, 2016.  There are already separate State codes an application is required to address when the State / TMR is involved as a referral agency.

The development approval process in Queensland is inherently a merit / performance-based system (as opposed to, for example, the more rigid planning system in NSW).  We have asked TMR for further clarity here and this reinforces the need for the draft policy to serve more as a supporting design guideline with sufficient flexibility.

Request a Copy & Comment Period

For further information, feel free to request a copy of both the draft RFF policy and our formal submission via enquiry@tfa.com.au

TMR had an initial comment period until 24 June 2020 but they have informed us they are still taking submissions into July as this is not a statutory comment period.

Any queries in relation to this matter, please contact John Rowell (Director – Town Planning) or Brendan Easton (Town Planner), who would be happy to discuss further.

 
Telephone – 1300 794 300
Email – enquiry@tfa.com.au
Website – www.tfa.com.au

Brisbane City Council is currently undertaking public consultation until 9 September 2019 for proposed amendments to its Service Station code within the Brisbane City Plan. The changes will provide increased controls to manage the interface between service stations and ‘sensitive uses’, most notably around air emissions and stormwater management.

A link to the proposed amendments can be found here:
https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/planning-and-building/planning-guidelines-and-tools/brisbane-city-plan-2014/amendments-to-city-plan-2014/city-plan-amendments-in-progress/proposed-citywide-amendment-major-amendment-package-c

In addition to the Service Station code, the changes to council’s air quality and stormwater management policy will also relate more broadly to wider forms of industrial development, including the storage of hazardous materials.

Summary of Proposed Changes

The proposed amendments are more a tightening of certain policy elements as opposed to any sweeping / wholesale changes in policy direction. From a Queensland perspective, other councils often follow the policy directions that Brisbane City Council undertake. It is therefore important to fully understand the proposed changes with potential wider adoption down the track.

Council’s own summary of the proposed amendments is as follows:

  • clarify the existing requirement for service station development to avoid or minimise fuel vapour emissions, in addition to ensuring air quality criteria are met
  • refine assessment criteria for visual amenity, noise, health and wellbeing to enable improved outcomes for service station development, particularly in Centre zones and near residential uses
  • enable service stations and industrial development to use new technologies for stormwater quality protection.

These are discussed in further detail in the sections below.

Visual Amenity

The proposed changes now provide more specific commentary around the screening of mechanical plant and equipment from both any public space or adjoining residential use.
In our experience, the majority of new suburban service stations are generally designed to provide some form of screening to plant and equipment, particularly from public vantage points. However, additional requirements around screening from residential areas may result in more challenging screening requirements where for example a constrained site may require equipment to be located on top of the roof of the building.

Stormwater Treatment

There is an additional policy provision in the code which now deals specifically with spill management and stormwater treatment systems over ‘uncovered forecourt areas’ with a new table of stormwater criteria provided.
The outcome of this new table of criteria is that the first flush of the uncovered forecourt area will be required to satisfy the same treatment criteria of the fuel dispensing areas, namely:

  • <5ppm (mg/L) total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH)
  • ≥80% reduction in total suspended solids (TSS)
  • ≥90% reduction in gross pollutants (GP)

For new applications, were these changes to be adopted, many current treatment systems over uncovered forecourt areas would fail to meet the above criteria. Noting for new applications only and not applied retrospectively.

Air Quality

The section of the code around air quality is proposed to be updated to include more direct reference to the provision of Stage 2 Vapour Recovery. Currently, the relevant performance criteria has a fairly broad interpretation that amenity to sensitive uses is ‘maintained’ through (in part) the installation of ‘vapour recovery systems’. This wording is proposed to be updated with more direct wording around ‘avoids or minimises air emissions through the installation of Stage 1 and Stage 2 vapour recovery systems’.

In our opinion, it would therefore be more difficult to argue against the provision of Stage 1 and 2 vapour recovery where in close proximity to sensitive uses.

The policy also provides clearer reference not just to the protection of sensitive zones, but also sensitive uses within the rural zone. This would give more weight to residential premises within rural zones that previously may have been afforded a lesser degree of amenity protection where located along a busy road or in close proximity to uses of a non-rural nature.

The opportunity for public comment closes at 5pm – 9 September 2019. For queries in relation to the above proposed amendments, please contact John Rowell who would be happy to discuss further.

Telephone – 1300 794 300
Email – enquiry@tfa.com.au
Website – www.tfa.com.au

The Australia alcoholic drinks market is set to reach USD 32.44 billion by 2025, owing to the rise in the premiumisation trend in the country. The demand for alcoholic cross-category drinks is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period on account of the rise in drinking population and various marketing and promotion activities adopted by the famous brands to target the drinking population in Australia.1 The number of glasses of all spirits combined has grown strongly for the past three years, from 49 million glasses in an average four week period in 2015 to 59 million in the year to September 2018 – a 21 per cent increase overall.2

What does this mean for cross-category drinks?

One notable trend is that alcohol is being combined to deliver familiar flavours through a new medium. Different types of alcohol are being blended together to continue the development of new cross-category drinks. The beer, wine and spirits categories are becoming even more blurred as businesses increasingly combine one, two or all three together to create new products. Spirit beers and pre-mixed spirit drinks have captured the minds of young millennials, appealing to their experimental attitude towards innovative flavour combinations. As a result, beer producers have followed the lead of the cider category.3

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 implications

One consequence of ‘category blur’ or ‘fusion’ is the broadening of risks to be managed under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The Act stipulates that a person conducting a business or undertaking has a primary duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of workers and other persons are not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.

Conventionally the industry has always needed to manage the risks associated with dangerous goods, now referred to as hazardous chemicals under the Globally Harmonised System. Whilst typical fermentation beers are not classified as hazardous chemicals (having less than 24% alcohol by volume), the industry does use a range of hazardous chemicals such as: cleaning in place (CIP) chemicals i.e. sodium hydroxide and nitric/phosphoric acid, refrigerants namely glycol and/or ammonia as well as CO2, a by-product of fermentation process. If not properly managed these materials can pose a real threat to individuals involved in operations.

The growth of mixed drinks and new distilleries has increased the storage and handling of high strength potable spirits. Where the alcohol strength exceeds 24%, additional precautions are required such as classification of hazardous zones and the installation of specially certified electrical equipment. In addition AS1940 – The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids becomes applicable providing design guidelines that affect site layout, drainage and firefighting requirements.

The WHS Act Regulations include specific duties for a person conducting a business or undertaking to manage the risks to health and safety associated with using, handling, generating and storing hazardous chemicals at a workplace. Some of these duties include: identifying hazards, assessing risks, implementing appropriate controls, correct labelling of containers, provision of spill containment systems, emergency preparedness and providing current Safety Data Sheets in the workplace.4

Expertise to ensure compliance

When planning such facilities hazardous chemicals safety considerations must be identified and managed in accordance with council regulations. Spent grain discharge, waste water elimination, trub removal, tank CIP drainage and spent yeast removal require careful consideration when planning and designing brewing systems, whether for small or large scale operations, existing or new-builds.

In summary, regardless of the size of the operations it is essential to conduct a careful risk analysis in the workplace to guarantee the safety of everyone involved in the business practice. Strong focus in workplace safety is key to support a healthy growth of the industry and consolidate Australia as a major player in the brewing industry.

TfA personnel have extensive experience in brewing and beverage plants, including the storage and handling of hazardous chemicals. In addition, TfA are members of the Australasian Institute of Dangerous Goods Consultants. We can assist with Town Planning issues, project master planning, feasibility, project management and design through to compliance auditing.

For queries in relation to any brewery safety matters or brewing and beverage plant projects, please contact
Bhavisha Kallichurn who would be happy to discuss further.

References:
1 DUBLIN—-(BUSINESS WIRE)–The “Australia Alcoholic Drinks Market Size and Forecast by Type (Beer, Cider & Flavored Alcoholic 2 Beverage, Wine, Spirits) by Distribution Channel (Off-Trade, On-Trade) and Trend Analysis, 2015-2025″
2 National liquor news – The huge shifts changing alcohol retailing in Australia – 26 March, 2019 by Deborah Jackson
3 By WINE AUSTRALIA on 20 APR 2017 in TRENDS
4 Code of Practice – Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the workplace

Recently endorsed by the COAG Energy Council, the development of a National Hydrogen Strategy will set a platform for Australia to become a major global hydrogen player by 2030. The energy council has agreed to establish a dedicated Working group, chaired by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, to lead activities that achieve this vision.

Council has tasked the Working Group with carrying out three kick-start projects, to set the stage for the implementation of a national hydrogen strategy, to be considered by Council in December 2019.

What has changed about Hydrogen Energy in Australia?

Hydrogen presents an opportunity for Australia to lead in the emerging market for low and zero emissions energy, and reap the benefits of early entry into this industry. Global demand for hydrogen is now about 55 million tonnes a year with only 1 million tonnes used for energy. Relatively conservative estimates suggest that global demand for hydrogen for energy purposes is likely to reach more than 8 million tonnes by 2030 and about 35 million tonnes by 2040.

Capitalising on this growing demand for hydrogen could result in an export industry worth $1.7 billion which would provide an estimated 2,800 jobs by 2030 (direct and indirect impact). Most of the jobs created by this new industry are likely to be in regional areas, at sites of hydrogen production, storage and loading for export.

Two international reports have confirmed Australia’s potential as a future major hydrogen supplier. The World Energy Council’s International Aspects of a power-to-x roadmap identified Australia as a ‘giant with potential to become a world key player’. The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook projects that Australia could easily produce 100 million tonnes of oil equivalent of hydrogen, equivalent to 3 per cent of global gas consumption today.

What is the plan moving forward?

Australia’ national strategy should focus on exports first. There is a small window of opportunity to supply Asia’s emerging market. Australia has competitive advantages, such as access to infrastructure and large renewable energy potential, but must act quickly and in a coordinated way to ensure Australia’s place in the hydrogen value chain.

Domestic markets will start to emerge based on consumer decisions, which will be easier and cheaper if a scale is developed via exports first. A national strategy therefore should consider policies and measures to allow domestic use of hydrogen, for things like decarbonising the gas supply, transport, interacting with electricity systems to improve reliability, and industrial processes.

From experience it is known that energy transitions often arrives sooner than expected. To sustain this impetus and set the stage for future implementation of a national strategy, three “kick-start” projects have been identified to be progressed immediately:

  • Commencing work to allow up to 10 per cent hydrogen in the domestic gas network, both for use in place of natural gas and to provide at-scale storage for hydrogen
  • Scope potential for building hydrogen refuelling stations in every state and territory. Fuel cell electric vehicles powered by hydrogen will become available in Australian markets from 2019 onwards, which will create consumer demand for refuelling stations. Beginning this work now, in partnership with industry, will facilitate consumer driven adoption of hydrogen fuelled vehicles. TFA is currently working on a number of projects now in this space.
  • Undertake co-ordinated international outreach to keep building Australia’s profile with major trading partners as a potential supplier. This activity is already underway through Austrade, several state and territory governments and proactive Australian companies, but could be boosted by enhanced coordination across governments and industry, and given a higher profile through Council endorsement and commitment.

Where do we see the industry heading?

Industry players are considering renewable hydrogen as the next liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, supplying hydrogen to power cars, buses, trucks and trains.

One of historical issues with hydrogen is that it’s difficult to transport over long distances because of its low density. CSIRO is currently trialling metal membranes, to extract pure hydrogen from ammonia. Ammonia is a more efficient way of transporting hydrogen because of its higher hydrogen density when compared to liquid hydrogen. This technology could be the pathway for a new export market.

Currently, there are two major automotive players offering hydrogen powered cars in Australia, Toyota and Hyundai. Both companies have invested millions of dollars in development and provided test vehicles for trials in Australia: the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo. The Mirai was recently tested as part of a 12-week trial by Hobson’s Bay City Council in Melbourne’s inner west. The trial will help Hobson’s Bay City Council reduce its vehicle fleet emissions and reach its environmental target of zero CO2 by 2020. The Hyundai Motor Company Australia has agreed to supply 20 NEXO fuel cell vehicles to the ACT Government as part of the Hornsdale Wind Farm project. It is expected that deliveries of these vehicles will commence in early 2019.

Industrial alkaline fuel cell power company AFC Energy said it received its first commercial order for a hydrogen power generation unit in Australia from Southern Oil Refining. The refinery currently converts several waste streams, including from sugarcane bagasse, “green waste” from cities, woody weeds like prickly acacia, and tires as feedstock for the production of bio-crude oil. Northern Oil is developing a new hydrogen generation technology that uses steam over iron reduction and chemical looping to deliver hydrogen, processes that are reportedly cheaper than conventional steam methane reformation. Surplus hydrogen generated from this system is expected to be consumed by AFC’s fuel cell system.

In summary, Renewable Hydrogen has the potential to become a viable alternative as the energy of the future. With support, new innovations will be made, and Australian hydrogen industries can lead the emerging market for low and zero emissions energy.

To learn more about renewable hydrogen, please contact our engineering manager, Keith Sharp, who would be happy to discuss further.

References:
1. Refinery Hydrogen Power Pilot Takes Shape in Australia,
https://www.powermag.com/refinery-hydrogen-power-pilot-takes-shape-in-australia/
2. Gladstone company receives $1m bio-hydrogen Boost Metal membrane for hydrogen
https://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/southern-oil-receives-1m-bio-hydrogen-boost/3192364/
3. Metal Membrane for Hydrogen Separation – CSIRO Case Study
https://www.csiro.au/en/Research/EF/Areas/Low-emissions-technologies/Hydrogen-membrane
4. Renewable hydrogen could fuel Australia’s next export boom after CSIRO breakthrough –ABC NEWS
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-11/hydrogen-breakthrough-could-fuel-renewable-energy-export-boom/8518916
5. Hydrogen power plant pilot, a first for Queensland, highlights resurgence of humble chemical element –
ABC News https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-18/hydrogen-power-pilot-concept-gladstone-refinery/10003812
6. National Hydrogen Strategy and Workplan – COAG Energy Council
http://www.coagenergycouncil.gov.au/sites/prod.energycouncil/files/publications/documents/DIIS%20-%20Hydrogen%20Workplan%20-%2020181219.pdf
7. Proposal for a National Hydrogen Strategy, Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO,
presented to COAG Energy Council
http://www.coagenergycouncil.gov.au/sites/prod.energycouncil/files/publications/documents/DIIS%20-%20Hydrogen%20Proposal%20-%2020181219.pdf
8. Joint Ministerial Hydrogen Statement – COAG Energy Council
http://www.coagenergycouncil.gov.au/sites/prod.energycouncil/files/publications/documents/DIIS%20-%20Hydrogen%20Joint%20Ministerial%20Statement%20-%2020181219.pdf

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