A region in New Zealand has unveiled a roadmap to become a global leader in hydrogen production and utilisation.

The country is moving into a low-emissions future that will substantially alter its current energy ecosystem.

The New Zealand Government has set national targets of a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and net zero emissions by 2050.

In order to achieve these targets, Taranaki has released a roadmap which positions hydrogen as the fuel of the future and looks at the potential for the region to leverage its existing skills and infrastructure.

According to the ‘H2 Taranaki Roadmap’, released on Friday, the region has a unique collection of strengths that position it as the major player in the New Zealand hydrogen opportunity.

Some of these strengths include: significant water, wind and solar resources; supporting service industry including pipeline integrity and very high pressure test facilities; already home to large producers and users of hydrogen; hydrogen infrastructure design and engineering expertise; and local and regional government support.

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Developed by Hiringa Energy with support from Venture Taranaki, New Plymouth District Council and the New Zealand Government’s provincial growth fund, the roadmap outlines a series of projects that together with leveraging the existing heavy energy industry skills and infrastructure in the region, will help seed the establishment of a low-emissions hydrogen sector.

The opportunities have the potential to become multi-billion-dollar development projects, create significant employment opportunities, and generate billions of dollars in domestic and export revenue, the roadmap explains.

At its heart and to start the journey, a critical mass of near-term public and private sector projects are proposed to create the ecosystem and establish a hydrogen industry in New Zealand, including:

  • Establishment of a New Plymouth refuelling station and out-of-region connecting hubs, to service buses, trucks, light commercial, waste and contractor specialised vehicles
  • Development of a green ammonia project at Kapuni, establishing hydrogen production to support the growth of hydrogen transport and provide the foundation for transition to a low-emissions chemical industry
  • Implementation of hydrogen into a stationary energy application within regional infrastructure such as one of the region’s aquatic centres, council buildings or district health facilities, providing combined heat and power, energy storage and resilience
  • Deployment of near-term projects with Japanese and other international partners that enhance business and regional relationships and create the basis for future export developments

“It is important that we act now to create and capture the opportunities this transition offers, ensuring we leave a positive legacy for our children.”

Andrew Clennet, Hiringa Energy

  • Studies and trials for hydrogen injection into the gas grid, including 100% hydrogen scenarios
  • Investigation of carbon capture and storage using the Taranaki gas fields together with carbon capture utilisation options, including synthesis of fuels and industrial chemicals
  • Exploration of opportunities to use hydrogen-based fuels in peaker electricity generation plants

The report’s author, Andrew Clennett of Taranaki-based Hiringa Energy, is enthusiastic about the potential hydrogen could have in transitioning the regional economy.

“Taranaki is very fortunate with its natural resources, infrastructure, and the forward thinking and the leadership shown by our regional officials and industry,” he says.

“Hiringa is enjoying working with progressive partners to develop a number of exciting projects that will help future-proof jobs in the region while contributing to New Zealand’s future energy needs.”

“We are facing many challenges with the energy transition ahead, requiring the community, businesses, regions and government to continue to work together. It is important that we act now to create and capture the opportunities this transition offers, ensuring we leave a positive legacy for our children.”

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