Hiringa Launches Hydrogen Refuelling Network

HVIA member Hiringa Energy has launched what it claims is Australasia’s first zero-emissions green hydrogen refuelling network, Hiringa Refuelling New Zealand, to propel New Zealand towards its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The network was officially opened by New Zealand Minister of Energy and Transport, Simeon Brown.

With 25 per cent of NZ’s transport emissions coming from the heavy transport sector despite only making up four per cent of the vehicles on the roads, the company says it marks a ground-breaking step towards decarbonising the country’s heavy transportation sector.

The network has been established in partnership with NZ’s leading independent fuel supplier, Waitomo Group, and TR Group, Australasia’s largest heavy vehicle fleet owner.

The launch sees three strategically located stations opening in Wiri (South Auckland), Te Rapa (Hamilton) and Palmerston North, with a fourth station in Tauranga progressing as an integral part of the new Tauriko SH29 roading infrastructure.

Together, the green energy network is positioned to service 95 per cent of the heavy freight routes across the North Island including the “Golden Triangle” of freight movement (between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga).

With the opening of the network, hydrogen-powered trucks can go into commercial operation enabling heavy transport to begin its transition to zero-emission alternatives.

The refuelling stations are powered by clean, renewable energy and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, enabling hydrogen-powered heavy transport vehicles such as trucks and buses to refuel with green hydrogen in 10 to 20 minutes.

“Heavy transport plays a vital role in our economy, but it’s also a significant contributor to our national emissions,” says Hiringa CEO Andrew Clennett.

“As a first-of-its-kind across Australasia and one of the first networks set up globally to service heavy transport, the initiative addresses this major challenge by providing operators with the infrastructure they need to switch to zero-emission transport in an efficient, scalable and commercially viable manner.

“We cannot emphasise enough the critical leadership role our partners TR Group and Waitomo have played in committing to aggregate fleets of vehicles and provide modern efficient forecourt access in strategic locations respectively.”

Network infrastructure establishment has received support from the NZ Government via a NZ$16 million loan, growth capital from key investors including Sir Stephen Tindall’s fund K1W1, and international investment from Mitsui & Co, and Green Impact Partners alongside Hiringa Energy.

Waitomo Group CEO Simon Parham adds: “Green hydrogen offers a versatile, alternative solution for long-haul trucking and other heavy transport vehicles as New Zealand begins the switch to future fuel generation. Waitomo has been fuelling Kiwis for more than three generations, so we’ll also be part of the fuel solutions for the future generations.

“Partnering with Hiringa allows us to deliver on that vision by collocating the Hiringa refuelling sites on our forecourts regularly used by heavy transport operators. Today’s milestone demonstrates what two innovative and entrepreneurial Kiwi companies working in partnership can achieve for NZ Inc.”

The project has been enabled via forward-thinking companies such as NZ Post whose early adoption and willingness to trial and introduce zero-emissions technologies to its fleet.

A Hyundai XCIENT fuel cell truck has been deployed on commercial operations since 2023, having completed more than 70,000km, eliminating the need for an estimated 29,700 litres of diesel which represents 80 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and purifying the air around the vehicle at the same time.

NZ Post CEO David Walsh says that while it has been a success seeing its hydrogen truck demonstrating this technology travelling over 350km a day (using slower mobile refuelling), having the heavy-duty refuelling network in place will be instrumental in enabling the company to use this hydrogen truck on longer distances.

“With rapid refuelling now available this will allow us to operate the hydrogen truck seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with zero emissions. We’re thrilled to see this national network come together,” he says.

The infrastructure will also set the stage to provide a fast and reliable source of hydrogen to seed multiple other applications including marine, construction, materials handling, stationary power and most notably, aviation.

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