$20m hydrogen power play for southeast

HYDROGEN POWERED

An Aussie firm that has pioneered one of the world's first hydrogen energy storage systems plans to establish a foothold in Springfield.

We learned on Monday that Sydney-based tech outfit LAVO expects to start production next year at a $20 million plant at Springfield.

Work on the facility, which will kick off later this year and create about 200 jobs, is just one part of a larger and highly ambitious green agenda promoted by Springfield City Group co-founder and boss Maha Sinnathamby.

Costing nearly $35,000, LAVO's batteries are about the size of a big refrigerator, last up to 30 years and can be connected to solar panels, using the power to create hydrogen from water. The company also makes hydrogen-powered household goods.

They are part of a fast-growing global shift to renewable power, with the current $US150 billion a year spent on hydrogen expected to soar to $US2.5 trillion by 2050.

LAVO's new outpost will be based at Springfield's 40ha Vicinity business park and help the city achieve the lofty goal of producing more energy than it consumes by 2038.

"LAVO has the first and only commercial-ready hydrogen energy storage system in the world designed for everyday use by residential homes and businesses,'' Sinnathamby said.

"We will work closely with LAVO to identify co-development opportunities, including the integration of LAVO technology into utility scale solar farms developed in Springfield City."

Late last year Sinnathamby, in collaboration with French power group ENGIE, vowed to commit $3.1 billion to make Springfield "the world's greenest city''.

That means the current population of 46,000-which is expected to triple over the next 20 years-will all get their power from renewable sources and have access to electric vehicle charging stations.

Hydrogen-powered buses will provide public transport, solar panels are set to proliferate and at least a third of the city should remain as green space.

ARM TWISTING

Meanwhile, Sinnathamby is also ramping up pressure on the federal government to help fund a range of initiatives that could create 20,000 jobs and help kickstart the post-COVID recovery.

He lobbied deputy PM Michael McCormack in person late last week for Commonwealth financial backing for at least a dozen shovel-ready projects in a planned new 120ha "knowledge and innovation district'' expected to pump around $12 billion in to the economy by 2026.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (centre) gets an overview of Springfield with co-founders Maha Sinnathamby (left) and Bob Sharpless
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (centre) gets an overview of Springfield with co-founders Maha Sinnathamby (left) and Bob Sharpless

McCormack, the Minister Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, toured Springfield for the first time and pored over a model of the city with Sinnathamby and his colleagues.

Accompanied by Senator Paul Scarr, he also met with a group of two dozen players in the health, education, defence and IT spaces across Queensland.

McCormack seemed pretty impressed with what he called the "national and internationally significant development going on in Greater Springfield''.

But it was the presence of a certain tennis star in the satellite city that seemed to equally intrigue him.

"There are so many aspects they've got planned for the future, and that's exciting. And Ash Barty lives here, so it must be all right," he said.

Originally published as $20m hydrogen power play for southeast



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