New Zealand will build its first nationwide network of hydrogen refueling stations starting in 2021 after the government announced it has provisionally approved $20 million for Hiringa Energy to build the infrastructure.
The infrastructure reference group's contribution of $20 million will help leverage an additional $49 million from Hiringa Energy, joint venture partners and other private investors for the project, including Waitomo, TIL and TR Group.
The initiative includes the installation of eight hydrogen refueling stations in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Auckland, Taupō, Wellington and Christchurch. At these stations, zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles (hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles) such as trucks and buses can be refueled.
This initial network will cover about 95% of heavy-duty routes in the North Island and 82% of the South Island.
"This is an exciting development that can drive the use of hydrogen as a low-emission fuel for New Zealand's energy future," said Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods.
"This government funding plays a key role in stimulating private investment in infrastructure and gives operators the confidence to invest in fuel cell vehicles. The funding provided by the government will have a tremendous multiplier effect," said Cathy Clennett, CEO of Hiringa Energy.
In addition to building the fueling station network, Hiringa Energy's other projects include producing hydrogen for home use and helping businesses convert their fleet or energy needs to clean hydrogen.