Ports of Auckland will build a hydrogen production and refuelling facility at its Waitematā port in New Zealand, set to be operational by the end of 2019.

Along with project partners Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and KiwiRail, Ports of Auckland will invest in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles including port equipment, buses and cars as part of the project.

“We have an ambitious target to be a zero-emission port by 2014. In order to meet that target we need a new renewable and resilient power source for heavy equipment like tugs and straddle carriers, which are difficult to power with batteries,” said Tony Gibson, Ports of Auckland Chief Executive.

Ports of Auckland will fund the construction of a facility which will produce hydrogen from tap water. Demonstration vehicles will be able to fill up with hydrogen at the facility.

“If this trial is successful the technology would have a very wide application. It could help Auckland and New Zealand towards energy self-sufficiency and our emission reduction goals. Trucks, trains and ferries could also run on hydrogen,” said Gibson.

In addition to purchasing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, project partners will provide technical support. Global hydrogen experts Arup are also helping support this project through the development, design and delivery phrases.

“I welcome this trial. It is a first for New Zealand and shows Auckland’s desire to lead on climate change action and meet our ambitious emissions and reduce targets,” said Mayor Phi Geoff.

“With 40% of emissions in Auckland coming from our transport system alternative energy sources to power vehicles, such as electric and hydrogen, are critical to meeting the target of global warming to 1.5 degrees,” Mayor Phil Geoff continued.

The project is currently in the planning phase, Ports of Auckland is about to start stakeholder engagement before applying for resource consent in early 2019.