Updated: May 19
3 May 2022
Construction of New Zealand’s first high-capacity green hydrogen refuelling station starts in Palmerston North this week.
The site, adjacent to Palmerston North Airport, is the first of four hydrogen refuelling stations to be developed by innovative Kiwi energy companies Hiringa Energy and Waitomo Group.
The partners are building New Zealand’s first nationwide hydrogen refuelling network. Andrew Clennett, CEO of Hiringa Energy, says this is one of the first refuelling networks for heavy transport in the world.
Financial backing for the project has been provided through investment from Hiringa’s Strategic Alliance partners, Mitsui and Co (Asia-Pacific), Government funding from EECA and the COVID-19 Recovery Fund, and growth capital from key investors including Sir Stephen Tindall’s K One W One and international funders.
Waitomo Group is self-funding its investment in the project because the kiwi business sees hydrogen as an important step in the transition to lower emission fuels.
Waitomo Group Managing Director Jimmy Ormsby says breaking ground at the Palmerston North airport station marks a major milestone for the partnership.
“What began as a discussion between two innovative, future-focused Kiwi companies about developing hydrogen on our existing and new Waitomo Fuel Stops, is now becoming a reality for future Kiwi generations,” Mr Ormsby says.
“Seeing this vision come to life is particularly poignant for me as the third-generation owner of Waitomo, given Waitomo celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. What a way to cement in the transition to a low-emissions fuel future for the fourth generation.”
Mr Clennett says heavy transport makes up only four per cent of New Zealand’s vehicles, but accounts for more than 25 per cent of our total vehicle emissions.
“Green hydrogen is the key technology that will allow these fleets to stay on the road. It is a mass-market, clean energy solution that can have a real impact on reducing our transport emissions,” Mr Clennett says.
“Adding low-emission alternative fuel solutions to our network is a no-brainer. We want to leave a legacy for the next generation of Ormsby’s to continue in our footsteps. The exciting opportunities that green hydrogen technology offers allows us to deliver on that,” Mr Ormsby says.
Specialist hydrogen equipment for the station has been sourced from Europe. The station will be built next to a Waitomo Group Fuel Stop, servicing petrol and diesel customers. Once operational, hydrogen-powered heavy transport vehicles such as trucks and buses will be able to refuel at the station in similar time to what they are used to.
Mr Clennett says the Palmerston North station will help cement Manawatū’s position as a key logistics hub as transport companies looked for greener fuel alternatives. The partners have been grateful for the help of both the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) and the Palmerston City Council.
The partners say another three hydrogen refuelling stations are due to begin construction later this year, in Hamilton, Tauriko and Auckland, creating a network servicing more than 95 per cent of New Zealand’s North Island heavy freight routes.
More than NZ$50m has been invested in the first phase of the project and detailed engineering and compliance work has been completed. Resource consent has been granted for both the Palmerston North and Hamilton sites and applications are in for the Tauriko and Auckland sites.
Expansion of the refuelling network into the South Island will begin in 2023, with 24 high-capacity refuelling stations due to come online across New Zealand in the next 4-5 years to support a growing fleet of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
An initial fleet of 20 zero-emission Hyzon hydrogen-powered trucks to support the network has been purchased by TR Group. Built to meet New Zealand regulations and the demanding road conditions, the trucks will be capable of over 600km of range between refuelling stops.
Hyundai New Zealand is bringing five hydrogen fuel-cell Xcient heavy-duty trucks to New Zealand, with the second arriving soon. Both Hyzon and Hyundai have received support from EECA funding.
Hiringa Energy CEO Andrew Clennett and Waitomo Group Managing Director Jimmy Ormsby, along with colleagues from Mitsui and Co (Asia Pacific), will be attending the New Zealand Hydrogen Council H2 2 Zero Summit at Te Papa, in Wellington this week.
About Waitomo Group
Established in Te Kuiti 75 years ago by Desmond Ormsby, Waitomo Group is one of New Zealand’s leading independent fuel suppliers.
Waitomo is in rapid national expansion mode and now has more than 75 sites stretching from Paihia in the north to Dunedin in the south. Waitomo’s goal is to operate its business sustainably, leaving a minimal environmental footprint and, through innovation, transition to lower-emission alternative fuel solutions for future Kiwi generations. For more information, visit: https://www.waitomogroup.co.nz/environmental
About Hiringa Refuelling New Zealand
Hiringa Refuelling New Zealand is a subsidiary of Hiringa Energy, a green hydrogen energy company. Founded in 2016, Hiringa Energy is dedicated to building green hydrogen production and infrastructure to displace fossil fuels in transport and industrial feedstock, as well as working with technology and transport suppliers to introduce a full suite of hydrogen powered solutions to customers.
Hiringa Refuelling New Zealand is focussed on rapidly deploying a nationwide high capacity, open access hydrogen refuelling network to remove barriers and accelerate the adoption of green hydrogen applications across multiple sectors including road transport, aviation, rail, marine, materials handling, off highway and remote use.