Hydrogen could be about to become a major new industry for New Zealand.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) today released a report which identified producing hydrogen as an alternative source of energy as a major research and development (R&D) opportunity for the district.

The report assessed a number of industries to determine the potential to attract international research and development to the district.

QLDC Economic Development Manager Peter Harris said the report was part of a joint search by QLDC and New Zealand Trade Enterprise for new opportunities that can help diversify the local economy.

“Based on this report, hydrogen looks like it would have the most potential. It could be made using hydroelectricity, solar or wind, and would be used as a zero emission fuel for buses, trucks, cars and vessels. It could ultimately form a new industry in our district,” Harris said.

New Zealand established a hydrogen association in September 2018 to help advance hydrogen energy as a low emission fuel source.

CEO of the New Zealand Hydrogen Association Dr. Linda Wright, lives in the Queenstown district and is excited about hydrogen as a zero emission fuel for heavy vehicles.

“Hydrogen has advantages over batteries for long range trucks and buses. The Southern South Island is the ideal place to make and test renewable hydrogen as a way for the tourism and transport industries to reduce emissions,” said Wright.

“We have already received interest from members of the New Zealand Hydrogen Association - Real Journeys and H W Richardson Group - to be a part of a pilot so it will be exciting to see where this leads,” added Harris.