An old Toyota car plant in Victoria is being turned into a renewable energy hub to produce hydrogen fuels.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is investing $3.1 million towards the $7.4 million Toyota Australia Hydrogen Centre project.

The Hydrogen Centre will include solar PV and battery storage to power the production of renewable hydrogen through electrolysis.

The project aims to demonstrate an end-to-end process for the hydrogen creation chain; from producing hydrogen through electrolysis to the compression and storage of hydrogen and electricity generation via hydrogen fuel cells.

It is also Victoria’s first commercial scale hydrogen vehicle refuelling station, with infrastructure on site to allow the refueling of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The project will produce at least 60 kg of hydrogen per day.

Hydrogen is set to play a pivotal role in the future because it can be used to store and transport energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources.

Global annual demand for hydrogen as an energy source is on track to grow from about one million tonnes in 2019 to near 35 million tonnes by 2040.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Darren Miller said Toyota’s Hydrogen Centre would demonstrate hydrogen as a viable fuel source for transport and as an energy storage medium.

“The demonstration of low cost hydrogen production and distribution is key to the uptake of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles in areas such as truck, bus and government fleets,” Mr Miller said.

“Australia holds a competitive advantage to play a global role in the emerging hydrogen export market due to our existing expertise and infrastructure. We’re excited to see Toyota add their skills to the mix and be a major player in increasing the uptake of hydrogen applications in different sectors.”