Did you know that hydrogen is the most common chemical in the universe?

Or that transport is Australia’s third leading source of greenhouse gas emissions?

Did you also know that hydrogen-powered emit none of the nasties like nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter that gasoline and diesel vehicles do?

Yep, zero; just water and warm air.

Hydrogen is not only an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels, it is also more efficient, producing three times the amount of energy per unit weight of fuel than petrol and seven times that produced by coal.

Hydrogen-powered vehicle manufacturers like Australia’s leading hydrogen fuel cell vehicle manufacturer H2X are leading the way in decarbonising Australia’s automotive industry, edging us closer to a net-zero reality.

West Sale Airport will be home to the newest H2X vehicle manufacturing facility.

H2X Global
Photo Supplied.

Established by Chris Reitz and Brendan Norman, H2X is an automotive and power unit company founded on absolute sustainability, focusing on medium-distance professional vehicles to deliver efficient running, cost-effective, eco-friendly transport for professional and commercial operators.

On Tuesday, August 2, Wellington Shire Council approved the proposal for a new land and building lease with H2X Global Limited (H2X) on Mortimer Drive, Fulham, West Sale Airport.

Central Ward councillor Scott Rossetti declared the prospects of H2X in Sale “quite exciting”.

“H2X are a company that operates worldwide, producing an increasing production of hydrogen vehicles because transportation is one of the largest causes of greenhouse gases globally,” he said.

“What’s exciting here is H2X have actually wanted to set up within our region because of many things, but particularly our support of renewables.

“We are very excited to have them coming into West Sale; they are going to bring with them not only changes to the way we support our transport and logistics, but they are going to bring in a lot of work, jobs, thousands of full-time equivalent roles.”

H2X chief executive Brendan Norman said establishing H2X in areas that are increasing efforts towards renewable energy and hydrogen was a key factor in selecting West Sale Airport as the home for their national development and manufacturing centre.

H2X chief executive Brendan Norman.
H2X chief executive Brendan Norman.

“We wouldn’t be able to establish H2X in Sale if we didn’t have the support,” Mr Norman said.

“The Wellington Shire Council have been really supportive, they really have been fantastic.

“There is so much going on with clean energy in Gippsland like the recent wind farms, it’s a really cool vibe.

“And it is a great opportunity to be a part of the growth of hydrogen.”

Council Mayor Ian Bye said H2X aligns with council’s priorities in addressing climate change.

“H2X’s proposal aligns very well with council’s priorities around addressing climate change through supporting renewable energy initiatives, and their plans will create a significant number of manufacturing jobs to benefit our region socially and economically,” he said.

“Along with many other projects in the pipeline, which were highlighted at last week’s Gippsland New Energy Conference in Sale, this really positions Wellington Shire as a major hub of renewable energy generation and activity.”

Before founding H2X in 2020, Mr Norman lived in Melbourne and was top management for BMW/Audi/VW/Infiniti across Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

Mr Norman was Head of Strategy for Volkswagen Group Asia for Regional Development Program, leading Asia sales increase from 3000 to 350,000 units within 10 years.

With extensive experience in management and the automotive industry and a desire to create a sustainable future, Mr Norman became part of the movement spearheading the fusion of the emerging hydrogen and automotive sectors.

Renowned Austrian automotive designer Chris Reitz, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, is the chief design officer of H2X, with more than 30 years experience in automotive design.

Mr Reitz has been the head of design for industry leaders Volkswagen, Audi, Nissan and Fiat, and is responsible for bringing the sleek, elegant, and modernised look to the next-generation vehicles.

As the lead designer responsible for vehicles such as the VW Lupo, VW LT, Audi A4, Audi A2, Micra K12, GTR R36, Fiat 500, Abarth 500, Alfa Romeo 8c Cabrio and the Ferrari FF, Mr Reitz is one of the biggest names in the automotive industry.

Photo supplied.

H2X is expected to move into the old Gippsland TAFE building within the next month, which will act as their short-term dwelling.

“We are in the process of cleaning out the old TAFE facility and be operating there very shortly,” Mr Norman said.

“This allows us to begin vehicle conversions in the meantime until our long-term facility is ready, which building starts early next year.

“Sale will be the national centre for development and manufacturing with a very high export potential.”

With 22 million kilometres of operational data, manufacturing bases in Malaysia, India and Scandinavia and supported by Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy, the arrival of H2X in Sale brings with it countless benefits not only to the environment but to the Wellington Shire and Australian economy.

Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy aims to position the industry as a major global player by 2030, which is situated to become a ‘hydrogen superpower’ according to recent findings from Geoscience Australia.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, said Geoscience Australia’s findings have uncovered the potential for the development of multiple caverns underground in salt deposits across the Canning Basin in Western Australia, the Adavale Basin in Queensland and the offshore Polda Basin in South Australia.

“Hydrogen is a clean fuel and large-scale cost-effective storage of hydrogen will be essential in achieving our long-term goals for the future,” Ms King said.

“This new information captured by the Exploring for the Future program and other major discoveries demonstrate Australia’s monumental potential as a hydrogen superpower.”

As Australia moves towards net zero and with Gippsland harbouring sumptuous potential for green hydrogen production being rich in high-quality, low-cost wind and solar resources, H2X is set to improve Australia’s capability significantly.