Government backs Hiringa’s nationwide hydrogen fuelling network

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 10, 2020

The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for Hiringa Energy to establish New Zealand‘s first nationwide network of hydrogen fuelling stations.

This contribution comes as a welcome boost for Hiringa Energy and its key partners such as Waitomo, TIL and TR Group, which are leading the transition to zero emission transport solutions.

The initiative will involve the installation of eight hydrogen refuelling stations located in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Auckland, Taupo, Wellington and Christchurch. These stations will provide refuelling for zero emissions heavy FCEVs (hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles) such as trucks and buses. 

This initial network will provide coverage for about 95% of heavy freight routes in the North Island and 82% of the South Island.

“This is an exciting development that can kick-start the use of hydrogen as a low-emissions transport fuel for New Zealand‘s energy future,” said Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. “I‘m delighted that as we develop our hydrogen strategy/roadmap that we have such exciting hydrogen developments getting under way.”

Many of New Zealand‘s leading freight, manufacturing, construction, primary produce, and retail companies have set themselves aggressive decarbonisation targets for 2030. The establishment of this hydrogen refuelling network will go a long way to helping them achieve these targets. 

A hydrogen-powered truck combines hydrogen and oxygen to make electricity, with water as the only emission. The range and refuelling times of FCEVs are similar to diesel-powered trucks and buses, with a very low noise profile.

“This initiative will have a high impact on transport emissions,” said Hiringa Energy chairperson, Cathy Clennett. “Replacing a single diesel line haul truck with a zero-emission fuel cell version powered by green hydrogen would be the equivalent reduction in emissions as replacing up to 150 average light passenger vehicles. 

“This funding from the government plays a critical role in stimulating private investment in infrastructure and gives operators the certainty to invest in fuel cell vehicles. There will be a high multiplier effect from the government funds committed,” said Clennett.

“We have been really encouraged by the leadership across our regions from local government, economic development agencies and iwi groups, playing a crucial role facilitating the establishment of the local ecosystems, connecting in local businesses and investors and helping identify the relevant skilled job opportunities in this exciting new clean industry,” said Andrew Clennett, Hiringa Energy CEO.

As well as establishing the refuelling network, other Hiringa Energy projects include domestic production of hydrogen and assisting organisations transition their fleet or energy needs to clean hydrogen.

“Hiringa welcomes the opportunity to work with organisations who would like to join our growing group of partners who are committed to transitioning their fleets and operations to zero emission hydrogen technology.” 

The company would also like to acknowledge organisations such as Priority One in Tauranga, CEDA in Manawatu, PNDC, Venture Taranaki, New Plymouth City Council, Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, ATEED, ECan and ChristchurchNZ, Great South, MBIE, NZTE, PDU, Sustainable Business Council, Business Energy Council, the Road Transport Forum and its members, and the NZ Hydrogen Association, who continue to play a part in supporting this initiative.