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Geelong manufacturer to investigate hydrogen-powered cremation

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Renewable hydrogen is not yet produced in large volumes, though investigations into its potential are gathering pace, including a new Victorian government-backed study into its possible use in the crematorium industry.

Last Friday $6.6 million in grants were awarded to assist projects by six companies in the state, including bus maker Volgren, refinery operator Viva Energy, and engineering firm Austeng.

The latter is leading a project with Geelong Cemeteries Trust – which will provide industry and operational information – on modifying crematoria furnaces to run on a gas/hydrogen blend, followed by purely green hydrogen. 

The initial blended solution would address “the challenge of balancing supply and demand during the transition” to 100 per cent renewable fuel.

“The potential is enormous,” said Ross George (pictured left), who owns and runs Geelong’s Austeng with wife Lyn (middle.) 

“This project is specifically for the death care industry but the developments we make will be applicable to many other gas-fired industrial appliances.”

Austeng is a small, diversified engineering firm, with work ranging from partnerships with high-tech manufacturing startups to developing special purpose equipment. An estimated quarter of revenues is from crematorium and cemetery work, which it has been involved in since 1989.

The grant through the Victorian Renewable Hydrogen Business Ready Fund would support a project involving a feasibility study, development of a prototype demonstration tool, and a subsequent knowledge-sharing program “targeting industry, community and other stakeholders” Austeng said in a statement.

Darryl Thomas, CEO of the Geelong Cemeteries Trust, added that the project “was a terrific example of collaboration between Geelong organisations toward a common goal to improve environmental outcomes for the crematoria industry and beyond.”

Picture (left to right): Ross George, Lyn George, and Frank de Groot, Deputy CEO of Geelong Cemeteries Trust (supplied)

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