* Ampol to work with Tesla on virtual power plant
* Working with Fusion Fuel Green on hydrogen plant
* Ampol to test hydrogen in microgeneration to replace
MELBOURNE, May 20 (Reuters) - Australia's biggest fuel
supplier, Ampol Ltd, said on Thursday it would invest
at least A$100 million ($77 million) on developing new fuels
over the next five years, including green hydrogen and increased
electric vehicle charging.
Ampol outlined its decarbonisation strategy after securing a
lifeline from the Australian government on Monday worth up to
A$1.1 billion over nine years, protecting it from refining
losses and helping it upgrade its Lytton refinery.
The company's green strategy includes plans to reach net
zero carbon emissions at its operations by 2040. However its own
operations account for only 2% of its total carbon footprint,
with its customers' use of its products making up 98%.
Ampol Chief Executive Matt Halliday said the company had a
strong competitive advantage to be able to develop new energy
opportunities to help its 3 million retail customers and 80,000
business customers cut carbon emissions.
"We needed to do this. This is responding to a strategic
issue around the energy transition and the role Ampol plays,"
Halliday told Reuters.
Ampol said it would work with Tesla Inc to trial
electricity production, initially setting up solar panels and
Tesla batteries at three of its petrol stations.
It also plans to work with Fusion Fuel Green plc to
test a green hydrogen production plant at Lytton in Queensland,
and work with an early-stage Australian developer of
hydrogen-based microgeneration and storage technology.
The hydrogen production test will be very small, producing
1.5 tonnes of hydrogen from 10 units a year to see if the
technology can beat the cost of conventional hydrogen
production. Lytton already produces 30 tonnes a day of hydrogen
from the oil product naphtha.
Ampol still expects oil-based fuels to play a major role in
Australia's energy mix at least to 2030, due to the country's
size, relatively small population and heavy reliance on long
haul transport and heavy industry, Halliday said.
"That does create some greater challenges, but it means that
the market demand and almost the necessity to develop hydrogen
solutions in the longer term is going to be important," Halliday
($1 = 1.2947 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Additional reporting by
Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and