The advancement of hydrogen energy as a low emission fuel source in New Zealand took a significant step forward today with the announcement of the formation of the New Zealand Hydrogen Association, by the Association’s Chairman, Michael Fulton.

Mr Fulton says the Association was established with significant input and funding from a number of private sector companies, as well as seed funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

“The New Zealand Hydrogen Association grew out of a private sector consortium of companies that were progressing the use of hydrogen in New Zealand as a low emission fuel source”, he says.

“MBIE recognised the important leadership role the consortium was providing, and together we developed the concept of widening the scope to form an overarching body to support the progression and uptake of hydrogen energy in New Zealand,” says Mr Fulton.

“The New Zealand Hydrogen Association aims to support the use of New Zealand’s renewable energy resources to decarbonise our domestic energy needs and reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels”, he says.

Mark Pickup, Principal Policy Advisor at MBIE, says that the Ministry sees the hydrogen economy as an exciting prospect for New Zealand, not only to reduce our own carbon emissions but also in developing the potential for a key export industry.

“The Ministry welcomes the formation of the Association and congratulates everyone involved to date.  We encourage other parties working in the hydrogen space to join and support the Association.  We see this as an important development in the Government’s plans for a zero carbon and sustainable future,” Mark Pickup says.

Hyundai’s Fuel Cell NEXO travels 609 kilometers on a single charge that takes less than five minutes.

Richard Lauder, CE of Real Journeys, one of the founding members of the Association, says his company is looking forward to exploring the possibility of reducing carbon emissions by using renewable hydrogen for some of New Zealand’s most iconic tourism offerings.

“Our specially designed fleet of bullet coaches travel 1.3 million kilometres each year between Queenstown and Milford Sound and the prospect of low emission hydrogen fuel cell coaches running this route would put Real Journeys at the forefront of tourism globally,” says Richard  Lauder.

Brent Esler, Chief Executive of the HW Richardson Group says the formation of the Association is an important step forward for industry. “HW Richardson Group is one of New Zealand’s leading transport companies employing over 2,500 people.  The group operates a fleet of more than 1000 vehicles in heavy transport, including businesses involved in fuel distribution and readymix concrete.  We believe hydrogen will become a critical part of our energy mix in the future. We are pleased to be a founding member,” he says.

Todd Spencer, Head of Commercial and New Ventures at Contact Energy, says Contact Energy is delighted to be a founding member of the New Zealand Hydrogen Association. “Our company is always looking to the future and we see potential for hydrogen energy playing a significant role in a low emissions economy in New Zealand.  There is also strong potential for the development of renewable hydrogen exports using low carbon, locally produced electricity,” he says.

Michael Fulton says the New Zealand Hydrogen Association has appointed Dr Linda Wright as Chief Executive.

“Dr Wright has been the driving force behind the formation of the Association from day one, as well as firstly forming the private sector consortium. She has the passion, commitment and skill-set to take the Association forward and deliver something of real enterprise and value to New Zealand businesses who are seeking to explore a low emissions future,” says Mr Fulton. “Membership is open to all businesses, organisations, individuals and academic institutions.”

Mr Fulton, who is also the National Development Manager for Fulton Hogan, says his own company is currently evaluating the use of renewable hydrogen to replace the fossil fuels used in its day-to-day operations.  Fulton Hogan employs over 7,500 people across the transport, infrastructure, water, energy, mining and land development sectors in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific, and is committed to being part of a low carbon economy”, says Mr Fulton.

The founding members of the Association are Hyundai New Zealand, HW Richardson Group, Siemens (NZ), Green Cabs, Venture Southland, Real Journeys, Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds, Fulton Hogan and Contact Energy

* Cover Photo: Dr Linda Wright, Chief Executive, New Zealand Hydrogen Association at the Seoul launch of Hyundai’s Fuel Cell Nexo, which travels 609 kilometers on a single charge that takes less than five minutes.

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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.

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