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Coal to hydrogen to electricity way of the future

“Coal to hydrogen to electricity; the way of the future” – Duynhoven

“Producing hydrogen from coal for use in fuel cells could secure New Zealand’s energy future with pollution free, low cost energy.”

That’s according to Associate Energy Minister, Harry Duynhoven, who tonight launched the first step in a research project designed to produce hydrogen from coal for use in fuel cells to generate electricity.

The event was hosted by CRL Energy Ltd and Industrial Research Ltd in partnership with Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd and the Coal Association of New Zealand.

Hon Harry Duynhoven said New Zealand is on the brink of one of the greatest energy challenges in our history, which is to replace the Maui gasfield.

“So, a new quest has emerged in recent times, to find an economic source of hydrogen for what is perceived to be the future ‘hydrogen economy’.

“It is a fact that New Zealand has large dispersed resources of coal…the largest being the huge lignite resource of Southland and Central Otago.

“In energy terms this resource alone is of the order of 50 times greater that the original Maui gasfield.

“CRL and its partners in this project are to be congratulated on their good investigative chemical work, in determining the highly reactive nature of the South Island lignites.

“This was the first step on the quest for a source to supply pure hydrogen, for use in a fuel cell being developed by IRL,” said Mr Duynhoven.

The Chief Executive Officer of Solid Energy, Dr Don Elder says the next step in the research project is to prove the technology through a small scale plant that could meet the needs of 10-20 houses or a small-scale commercial operation.

“A natural extension of the programme would be to incorporate the technology into a coal-fired power station, along with the technology to manage carbon dioxide.

“This is undoubtedly an ambitious project, but one which we are committed to achieving for the benefit of all New Zealanders,” said Dr Elder.

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