Our world needs sustainable,
low emission energy solutions.
Pollution, global warming, growing population, widespread energy poverty, finite fossil fuels and the list goes on... harnessing clean and renewable energy is arguably the greatest challenge of our time.
Hydrogen is part of the solution.
We need to produce, transport and use sustainable energy at scale.
We need mass-market, clean energy solutions for transport, industry, energy storage, heat and power.
Hydrogen's abundance and unique properties make it a key piece in the puzzle of our world's energy solutions. It is an excellent source of renewable energy, it's ideally suited to power buses, trucks, and other heavy vehicles, and it can be produced and used cleanly.
In New Zealand, we still use fossil fuels for over 60% of our energy. We have potential renewable resources far greater than our energy needs that can be harnessed using hydrogen.
Hydrogen can redefine New Zealand's energy future.
We can use hydrogen for ...
Zero Emission Transport
London already fuels some of its famous double decker buses on hydrogen and South Korea is replacing 26,000 natural gas buses with hydrogen buses. California has dozens of retail hydrogen fuelling stations. Audi, Toyota, GM, Mercedes, Honda and many more vehicle manufacturers are producing hydrogen powered electric vehicles.
Hydrogen powered electric vehicles are called FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles). The fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity needed to power the vehicle, with the only emission being water vapour. FCEV's have the advantages of electric vehicles; with similar range and comparable refuelling times to petrol and diesel vehicles.
With high energy density, more energy can be stored on-board a vehicle to power heavy vehicles like buses, trucks, trains and boats.
"If we were driving pure hydrogen automobiles, that automobile would actually help clean up the air because the air coming out of the exhaust would be cleaner than the air going into the engine intake."
- Dennis Weaver
American Actor & Environmentalist
"Hydrogen is the key to a de-carbonised future"
- Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman, Toyota
Currently, our electricity network lacks the ability to store excess energy during times when supply surpasses demand. This is when hydrogen, as an efficient store of energy, comes in.
At 4am, a wind turbine might be creating plenty of electricity but most of the country is sleeping so can't use that electricity. Similarly, a solar panel will create an excess of electricity on a bright summer's day. Instead of just switching off these clean energy generators, we can use that electricity to produce hydrogen - storing the over-supply of energy for future use.
Hydrogen can store energy in greater capacities over longer periods than conventional lithium batteries, thus potentially dealing with seasonal challenges of our hydro-dominated power generation. Hydrogen can enable deeper penetration of renewables and decarbonisation by connecting renewables with 60% of NZ energy needs met by using fossil fuels.
Furthermore, hydrogen can be used in conjunction with fuel cells as an alternative to diesel generators and as off-grid back-up power solutions.
"Hydrogen can fill critical energy needs beyond transportation. The future possibilities of this energy source are enormous."
- Dan Lipiniski
United States Representative
When hydrogen is created from green sources, it can be utilised as a zero-emission source of industrial heat and power and as a clean feedstock for industrial chemical processes that use hydrogen (such as fertiliser manufacturing, methanol production and refining).
Hydrogen is a key building block of our industrial chemicals such as ammonia NH3, which typically use natural gas (methane - CH4) or coal as their feedstock to create hydrogen.
Methanation is an exciting CO2-net-zero process that captures carbon and combines it with H2 (hydrogen) to produce a synthetic methane. Synthetic methane (CH4) is a green replacement for natural gas, and when combined with carbon capture can produce net zero
emission synthetic fuels.
"The 1964 Tokyo Olympics left the Shinkansen high-speed train system as it's legacy.
The upcoming Olympics will leave a hydrogen society as its legacy"
- Yoichi Masuzoe, Tokyo Governor
Clean Hydrogen Production
New Zealand already produces thousands of tonnes of hydrogen each year. Most hydrogen produced in NZ is from natural gas (CH4) using a process called steam reformation. The by-product carbon is released to the atmosphere creating 'brown' hydrogen that is used by industry.
Hydrogen can be produced cleanly by using renewable electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. This process is called Electrolysis and produces 'green' hydrogen. Hiringa is focusing on the production of green hydrogen.
Hydrogen may also be produced from fossil fuels with low emissions by capturing and storing (CCS) or capturing and using (CCU) the by-product carbon. This is 'blue' hydrogen.
This is the cleanest method of hydrogen production.
Electrolysis works by passing the electricity through the water (H2O) and so separating that hydrogen (H2) from the oxygen (O2).
With it, we can capture the daily and seasonal excesses of supply of renewable electricity and store that energy as hydrogen for use at a later time or different place.
Hiringa will produce green hydrogen using renewable electricity.
Steam reforming involves extracting hydrogen from a fossil fuel (such as natural gas) through a chemical reaction performed at very high temperatures.
Hiringa and partners are undertaking research and development into low emission alternatives such as methane cracking, where carbon is converted to a solid, usable product.
Hydrogen fuel is clean,
sustainable and safe.
Learn more about the facts and myths surrounding the use of Hydrogen.
Safety is of utmost important to us at Hiringa, so we would like to share the important facts around hydrogen safety, as well as dispel any myths.
Like all fuels, hydrogen needs to be managed properly, and the unique properties of hydrogen considered in the design of hydrogen systems.
Should you have any further questions about hydrogen safety, we welcome your enquiry.
Hydrogen is colourless, odourless and non-toxic.
Other fuels either have odour (petrol/diesel) or are odorized (natural gas) and leaks are detected by smell. Hydrogen is not odorized due in part to its small molecular weight and buoyancy, and because an odorant would contaminate hydrogen purity and affect vehicle performance. Leaks are detected by sensors.
Hydrogen is flammable but diffuses rapidly and has low emissivity - Hydrogen is no more dangerous than other flammable fuels or the batteries used in electric cars. Hydrogen has a rapid diffusivity (3.8 times faster than natural gas), which means when released, it dilutes quickly into a non-flammable concentration. Hydrogen has a low emissivity (you can put your hand next to a hydrogen flame without being burnt). Petrol and diesel, with their heavier-than-air vapours, are more likely to cause a fire, or an explosion when confined in a tight space, and create secondary fires.
No drips, spills or smells when you fill the tank with lighter-than-air hydrogen. Safety systems at the station and on the vehicle are designed for a buoyant, gaseous fuel.
Hydrogen powered vehicles do not emit carcinogens or smog-forming particulates and compounds which negatively affect air quality and consequently public health in built up areas.
Myth 1: Hydrogen gas is dangerous to store and use. Arguably one of the most common concerns raised when discussing the use of hydrogen is that, as a flammable gas, it can be easily ignited and as such, far too hazardous to be stored either in refuelling stations or within a pressure tank. Yet, hydrogen is no more dangerous than other flammable fuels or the batteries used in electric cars. In fact, vehicles with pressure gas storage tanks are nothing new. With millions of on-the-road miles driven over the last few years, an existing global multi-billion industry transporting and making hydrogen for many decades, hydrogen can be used, stored and transported safely. To reinforce the safety aspect of using hydrogen storage tanks, Toyota reported that it had even fired bullets at its carbon-fibre fuel tanks, which failed to do any more than bounce off or leave small dents. Tanks are designed for controlled release of hydrogen if damaged.
Myth 2: Hydrogen is more dangerous than gasoline.
It's true that hydrogen is highly flammable. But petrol, with its heavier-than-air vapours, is more likely to cause a fire, or an explosion when confined in a tight space. That's because hydrogen is a gas that's 14 times lighter than air. When it's burning, it tends to vent straight up, like the flame from a butane lighter. Burning petrol, on the other hand, is heavier than air, remains liquid and will spread over various surfaces, leading to widespread fire damage. A researcher in the US proved this a few years ago with a hydrogen safety test that involved torching a hydrogen fuel leak and then a petrol leak in the same car. The burning hydrogen, which vented up and away, didn't damage the vehicle, whereas the petrol fire destroyed the car.
Unlike lighter-than-air hydrogen, petrol won't vent quickly from an enclosed fuel tank, so the pressure build-up from the expanding heated fumes can more easily cause an explosion. During the hydrogen fuelling process a controlled and monitored seal is created and fuelling is shut off if the seal is broken. In petrol fuelling there are no controls preventing discharge of fuel.
Myth 3: The Hindenburg.
The Hindenburg, the enduring source of hydrogen's bad reputation, didn't explode. Its millions of cubic feet of hydrogen burned away in less than 60 seconds. Most of the smoke and flame recorded by newsreel cameras as the giant lighter-than-air ship landed came from burning diesel fuel and the dirigible's painted canvas "gas bag" covering. The truth is that both petrol and hydrogen can be dangerous if they're not properly handled. But as a transportation fuel, hydrogen is less dangerous than existing fuels.
Fuel cell technology has been around for many years and is coming down in price.
New Zealand's integrated economy – road, rail, marine, gas and power networks, as well as abundant natural resources, combined with New Zealand’s innovative culture, make this country well placed to commercialise hydrogen.
Hiringa is helping Kiwis harness the clean power of hydrogen
Hiringa Energy exists to supply New Zealand with zero emission hydrogen, establish distribution and refuelling infrastructure, and to aid in the adoption of hydrogen technology.
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Hydrogen is the energy to change our future - let's make it a zero emissions one.