Venture Taranaki is managing the implementation of several Tapuae Roa Projects including development of the H2 Taranaki Roadmap. This project is focused on stimulating innovative hydrogen projects and the take-up of hydrogen technologies in Taranaki.

There’s been plenty in the news lately about hydrogen but what are the opportunities for Taranaki?
Venture Taranaki’s Tapuae Roa Coordinator John Haylock, who is managing the H2 Taranaki Project, says there are four key components to the hydrogen opportunity for Taranaki:
  • As a vehicle fuel
  • For storage of energy from renewable electricity
  • As an industrial feedstock
  • As an export industry
Vehicle Fuel
We’ve heard plenty about battery powered electric vehicles. While battery power has considerable potential for private light vehicles it does have shortcomings for heavy vehicles and intensively-used commercial vehicles. The range for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles is much better than battery powered vehicles, refuelling can be done in minutes and hydrogen is a much denser store of energy than a battery, meaning hydrogen-powered heavy vehicles can carry more freight.
Energy Storage
New Zealand is fortunate to already have 80% of its electricity from renewable sources and to have the potential to generate a lot more. The problem we have is that much of this extra renewable electricity will not be generated when it is needed. Batteries can be used to store electricity for up to a week or two. But the country needs a way to store this energy for longer periods of time – from season to season and sometimes from year to year.
Renewable electricity can be used to produce “green” hydrogen by electrolysing or splitting water, producing no emissions other than oxygen. This green hydrogen can be stored for long periods of time, then used to produce electricity when it is needed.
Industrial Feedstock
We already produce considerable amounts of hydrogen in Taranaki – from natural gas – as part of the current process of making methanol and urea fertiliser. As noted above green hydrogen can be produced from water using renewable electricity and is an ideal zero emissions industrial feedstock.
It is expected that demand for green hydrogen will increase dramatically around the world in coming decades. With New Zealand having the ability to produce more renewable electricity than it needs there is opportunity for the country to become a leading exporter of hydrogen.  New Zealand’s Minister of Energy has just signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on hydrogen with the Japanese government indicating the potential.
H2 Taranaki
Taranaki’s skill base, industrial capabilities and energy distribution infrastructure means it is the one region of New Zealand with all the systems and structures already in place to develop the hydrogen sector. Business Cases for a range of projects are being developed.