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Hydrogen in New Zealand study

A new study on hydrogen in New Zealand explores how hydrogen technologies could be used in New Zealand to help decarbonise the economy, as well as its potential as a lower emissions export fuel to decarbonise other economies. It examines both 'green' hydrogen produced from renewable electricity, and hydrogen produced from natural gas coupled with carbon capture and storage.

The report finds that hydrogen may have potential to decarbonise some types of niche freight and heavy transport operations. However, it finds that in most cases it will be more cost effective to use electricity or natural gas directly rather than convert it to hydrogen.

It finds that for most New Zealand's energy needs, hydrogen is unlikely to become cost-competitive with alternative low carbon options, particularly direct use of electricity for electric trucks, process heat boilers and heat pumps.

In large part this is due to the energy losses and capital costs associated with converting electricity into hydrogen, rather than using the renewable electricity directly. For example, it would require almost three times more renewable electricity to power a fleet of hydrogen trucks than electric trucks.

The study finds that hydrogen may potentially be competitive in some niche transport and freight applications, such as return-to-base heavy trucks or energy intensive on-site transport operations (e.g forklifts and cranes). It also says hydrogen production costs are likely to fall in the future with increased technology uptake, evolution of New Zealand’s wholesale electricity and network costs, and higher carbon prices.

Hydrogen technology is continuing to evolve rapidly and may have a role as part of a range of options in decarbonising New Zealand’s economy in the long term.

The study undertook significant new modelling and analysis of the different energy technologies in the New Zealand context. This analysis was applied to assess hydrogen’s potential for transport (with a focus on heavy trucks), industrial process heat, conversion of gas networks to hydrogen, space and water heating, power generation, and export potential.

Contact Energy, the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority, First Gas, Meridian Energy, The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment and Powerco, jointly funded the study undertaken by Concept Consulting.

You can find the report here

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