Fullers360 CEO Mike Horne joins NRC advisory group

In News4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 17, 2023

The National Road Carriers Transport and Logistics Advisory Group has strengthened its sustainability credentials by welcoming Fullers Group CEO, Mike Horne onboard.

“Road transport will be impacted by how hydrogen network infrastructure is solved for maritime, and in many ways the network challenges we face are the same,” said NRC chief executive Justin Tighe-Umbers.

“Investment in the right infrastructure to deliver sustainable energy solutions requires significant investment.

“How this is achieved is still to be determined for the transport sector,” he said. “A publicly funded model feels unlikely but a utility-based model where network operators and energy companies set up the infrastructure and use a tariff-based payment model to cover the cost of investments could work.

“Equally an integrated model could work, where private business comes together with support from public funding to collaborate with energy companies, charging station providers and hydrogen suppliers to establish stations for selected transport segments such as trucking and marine.”

Tighe-Umbers said connecting to the issues affecting marine transport operators is extremely valuable.

“Sharing insights and having an alternative view of the sustainability landscape with insights from Mike adds a valuable layer to the Advisory Group and will help NRC prepare members for the coming energy transition,” he said.

“Under Mike’s stewardship, Fullers360 is very much leading the way when it comes to sustainability innovations on the water. From teaming up with sustainable boat company SeaChange, to bring a zero-emission hydrofoil onto Auckland’s waters this year to other innovations such as hybrid-electric ferries, 100% electric ferries and fitting more efficient diesel engines to older boats – Fullers360 is embracing the move to a lower carbon future.”

However, Horne said sustainability on the water is not without its challenges.

“Electric is not always the perfect solution due to the weight and size of the batteries and the amount of power and time required to recharge,” he said.

“Auckland’s future transport needs will most likely be solved with a mix of lower carbon solutions – electric, hybrid, hydrogen, and more efficient diesel. We fully expect the mix to change over time as technology efficiencies develop and deliver both performance and cost savings.”

Hydrogen can store and deliver clean energy to the transport industry. It has the potential to significantly reduce air pollution in the form of greenhouse gases from trucks, buses, planes, and ships. When fed into a fuel cell it can power trucks and ferries without releasing harmful emissions – in New Zealand, almost 100% of hydrogen is green hydrogen sourced from sustainable hydro.

“Hydrogen-powered technology is now developing at pace as the sector appreciates the need to make sure it offers a viable solution for industry,” said Horne.

“Aside from enabling the commercial transport of hydrogen in viable quantities, technology is also being created to make it more cost effective to use. Work is being done to increase energy efficiencies and maintain hydrogen purity while minimising leakage.”

According to Horne, a sustainable future is now within reach for the transport industry.

“There is now a firm understanding from Government that reducing carbon emissions for the sector is not a one size fits all,” he said

“The old adage that electric is the only solution is now a thing of the past, and with a range of sustainable transport technologies and advancements underway I think we are going to see both marine and trucking powering ahead in the short to medium term.”