THP-E230: Good News For Heavy Duty Hydrogen And Australia’s Plea For Help.

July 13, 2023 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2023 • Episode: 230

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 230, Like the US, Australia is looking to its citizens to help with its hydrogen economic development, and Nikola wins big in California. I’ll go over all of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Like the US, Australia is looking to its citizens to help with its hydrogen economic development, and Nikola wins big in California. I’ll go over all of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen. And this podcast we’ll give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden. And welcome to the hydrogen podcast.

Last podcast I talked about the United States going after potential off takers for hydrogen, and it looks like the Australian Government is following suit because on July 10, the Australian Government sent out a release saying help us shape hydrogen Headstart. Australia’s $2 billion hydrogen Headstart initiative has reached an important stage consultation is now open. Announced in the 2023 federal budget, hydrogen Headstart aims to deliver up to a gigawatt of electrolyzer capacity by 2030. The flagship program will likely support some of the biggest hydrogen projects yet built and operated in Australia. The plan is to provide grant funding in the form of a hydrogen production credit delivered over 10 years. The funding will cover the commercial gap between the cost of renewable hydrogen production and the sales price of hydrogen or its derivative products.

By creating certainty early in project development, hydrogen Headstart will deliver a step change in Australia’s renewable hydrogen production. The Department of Climate Change Energy and the Environment and Water is working in collaboration with Arena on the design of hydrogen Headstart. Arena CEO Darren Miller says arena and the DCCEEW want to consult widely with industry and stakeholders. He’s quoted as saying Australia has all the ingredients to be a global leader in renewable hydrogen. The consultation paper that they’ve launched today, July 10, will kick off discussions about how hydrogen Headstart can best deliver for the Australian public. The joint DCCEEW and arena published consultation paper outlines indicative specifications for the program. It covers proposed objectives, eligibility criteria, and funding mechanism as well as other features of the program. DCCEEW and arena will be accepting written submissions, hosting an information webinar and running in person consultation forums in Sydney and Perth.

Following the consultation period arena and DCCEEW will develop the final program design arena already has a proven track record in stimulating innovation in the green hydrogen sector. Arena recently announced $25 million for hydrogen research and development funding and in January arena allocated another $50 million to four hydrogen projects supported as part of the joint Australian German Highgate initiative Arena in 2022. conditionally approved 47.5 million for the first 10 megawatt electrolyzer plant and Pilbara. A second 10 megawatt electrolyzer project has now reached financial close with arena committing $36.1 million to Australian Gas Networks’ (AGIG) Hydrogen Park Murray Valley development in Wodonga in north-eastern Victoria.

All told arena has provided $250 million to 44 renewable hydrogen projects from early stage research to deployment projects and studies. Projects have included hydrogen refueling and hydrogen trucks hydrogen for producing green ammonia hydrogen for use and alumina refining, gas blending and remote power. The hydrogen Headstart consultation paper can be found on the DCCEEW consultation hub registrations are now open for public consultation workshop in Sydney on Monday, July 17, Perth on Thursday, July 20, or for the online session on July 24. Consultation closes on August 2 2023.

Okay, so it seems Australia is following suit and reaching out to its citizens to promote the expansion of their hydrogen economy. I would say to those listening on Australia definitely read over the consultation paperwork and submit your thoughts. If the DCCEEW and arena truly want to know how best to drive their hydrogen economy forward. It will take every Australian with an interest in hydrogen to provide boots on the ground research and advice. The DCCEEW is expecting to invest up to $300 billion in the hydrogen space and it will need help from all facets to determine how best to deploy that capital. Next in an article in, Alan Ohnsman writes Nikolasnags $42 million from California to build hydrogen truck stations. Alan writes Nikola a cash strapped maker of zero emission heavy duty trucks said it’s received grant funding from California to build some of the first US fueling stations for hydrogen powered semis, and alternative to carbon spewing diesel models. Some may open as soon as late this year. The Phoenix based companies that the California Transportation Commission awarded at $41.9 million to build six heavy duty hydrogen stations in Southern California.

They’ll operate under the HYLA brand Nicola launched this year with its partner Voltera and be located along high volume freight corridors near Los Angeles, San Diego and in the Mojave desert region. The grant will quote allow us to accelerate the deployment of zero emissions hydrogen refueling infrastructure, which is vital for the successful launch of our hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in July. This according to Carey Mendes, president of Nikola energy. The announcement is much needed good news for a company that needs to raise substantially more capital to create a viable business selling zero emission truck. Nikola last month said it was cutting about 270 jobs across its operations to help reduce expenses and it’s also seeking to raise more money by issuing new shares. It’s overhauled operations dramatically in the past few years, focusing solely on building battery and fuel cell trucks and making hydrogen to power the ladder trying to overcome damage to its brand done by founder Trevor Milton.

He was convicted of securities and wire fraud last year and is awaiting sentencing. The California funds will cover about half the cost of building the six stations. This according to the company spokesperson, Dan Passe, Nicola and Voltera will cover the remaining portion. They’ll be designed to refuel up to 100 trucks a day, with the first ones opening late this year and in early 2024. Nikola said in May it aimed to open 50 Hyla stations with Voltera by 2028. Nicholas battery powered tray trucks, which went into production last year go about 300 miles per charge, while the hydrogen fuel cell version will go about 500 miles per fueling. Truck builders including Daimler, Volvo, Toyota and Hyundai like Nikola see hydrogen as a better option for electric trucks than batteries as they aren’t as heavy and can be refueled more rapidly.

Currently, there are virtually no public hydrogen fuel stations in the US designed to handle semi trucks, though California has more than 50 hydrogen stations for passenger vehicles like the Toyota Mirai sedan and Hyundai NEXO crossover. Separately, Nikola said it delivered 45 battery trucks in the second quarter of 2023. And so shares of Nikola gained 4.4% to close at $1.43 and NASDAQ trading on Wednesday of last week.

Okay, so Nikola is continuing to build on the good news train they’ve been riding lately, and I’m thrilled to see the refueling infrastructure continue to grow in California, as it will continue to be the hydrogen proving ground for the United States. Now, I’ve recently covered the bounce back that Nikola shares have had, and I believe if they continue winning projects like this, they can continue this success. And I can guarantee that others in this space will take notice. Nikola is laying the foundations for other heavy duty transportation options to move into the space. And with the Voltera and HYLA partnership developing filling stations supplying hydrogen as well as the trucks, they’re able to lock in full hub development without the need to worry about offtake or supply. This could very well be the way that the hydrogen transportation network around the US takes hold.

And by creating the full hub and wheel spoke design for local heavy duty delivery, this model can continue to replicate itself throughout the US to eventually develop an interconnected network of hubs. And it won’t just be Nikola, to do this. I would fully expect any heavy duty transport manufacturer to have this mindset for development to deploy their products, not just within the US, but also globally.

All right. That’s it for me, everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you could leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to Apple podcast, Spotify, Google, YouTube, whatever it is, that would be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you ever have any feedback, you’re welcome to email me directly at So until next time, keep your eyes up and honor one another.

Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more, I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.