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A  $43.3 million government-funded Barwon Water project is set to integrate a 2MW electrolyser to generate renewable hydrogen using recycled water from the Northern Water Plant. 

Barwon Water will be working with the Viva Energy Australia Geelong refinery to provide recycled water for the production of renewable hydrogen that will be used at a New Energies Service Station in Geelong.

The Federal Government announced a $22.8 million grant from the Advancing Renewables Program through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for the project that brings together a series of diverse industry partners operating an initial fleet of 15 hydrogen-powered heavy vehicles that will be refueled at the station.

The Victorian Government also contributed $1 million to the project via the Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund.

Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, said the Northern Water Plant already recycles domestic sewage and industrial wastewater from northern Geelong to offset 2GL of potable water use at the refinery.

“Through our Water for Victoria policy, the State Government is encouraging better use of alternative water resources like recycled water to reduce the impact on our rivers and environment.

“The use of recycled water for the production of renewable hydrogen in the project is an important step in Barwon Water’s aims for the productive reuse of 100 per cent of the recycled water produced at its water reclamation plants.

“It puts more of the recycled water from the Northern Water Plant to productive reuse and demonstrates the use of recycled water for hydrogen production,” Ms Neville said.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said renewable hydrogen will play a vital role in helping Victoria hit net zero by 2050.

“Renewable hydrogen offers enormous potential as a clean and reliable alternative to natural gas, and our government is helping make this new industry a reality by supporting this ground-breaking project through our Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund.”

Barwon Water Chair, Jo Plummer, said the funding for the vehicle was a key step towards Barwon Water’s goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.

“As well as by producing and buying renewable electricity, Barwon Water is decarbonising its fleet of maintenance and service vehicles.

“Barwon Water will receive ARENA funding via the Project to deploy a hydrogen-powered prime mover that will be used for the collection of organic waste for recycling at its water reclamation plants.

“This project demonstrates the benefits of strategic partnerships and we are thrilled to help deliver Geelong’s first ever New Energies Service Station, and take an important step in finding more ways to productively reuse our recycled water and green our maintenance vehicle fleet as part of our Strategy 2030 aims to be net-zero emissions by 2030,” Ms Plummer said.

Through the project, Barwon Water is also exploring ways to further optimise its wastewater treatment processes, leverage water industry innovation and participate in research and development.

“For instance, there could be potential for waste oxygen from the hydrogen production process to be captured and returned to the Northern Water Plant to reduce treatment related costs and emissions from the plant. Exploring innovative opportunities such as this could unlock further circular economy solutions for the way we operate our water and sewerage infrastructure,” Ms Plummer said.

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