Arup lead adviser for NZ’s first hydrogen demonstration project

Trish Sunga Trish Sunga Australasia Press Office,Sydney
6 December 2018

The first green hydrogen production and refuelling facility in New Zealand will be built by Ports of Auckland with expert support from Arup.

Planned to be operating in Autumn 2020, the ground-breaking project is a partnership between Ports of Auckland, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Kiwi Rail and Arup.

The facility for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, including port equipment, buses and cars, will be at the Waitematā port.

Arup is partnering to support the project through the development, design and delivery phases.

“Arup has seamlessly drawn together our global hydrogen experience with our local capability, knowledge and relationships to deliver pragmatic, solution focussed advice to POAL as they lead the hydrogen charge in New Zealand,” said Alan Thomson, Arup’s Global Leader of Energy Systems.  

Hydrogen is increasingly seen as a critical part of the energy system, providing an effective means of delivering green energy into transport, particularly heavy duty vehicles, while also providing the means for New Zealand to export renewable energy around the world. ”

Ian Gardner Ian Gardner Former Global Energy Systems Leader

Ports of Auckland has a target to be a zero emission port by 2040.

Chief Executive Tony Gibson said: “To meet that target we need a new renewable and resilient power source for heavy equipment like tugs and straddle carriers, which are difficult to power with batteries. Hydrogen could be the solution for us as it can be produced and stored on site, allows rapid refuelling, and provides greater range than batteries.”

Ports of Auckland will fund the construction of a facility which will produce hydrogen from tap water. The process uses electrolysis to split water into hydrogen (which is then stored for later use) and oxygen, which is released into the air. Demonstration vehicles will be able to fill up with hydrogen at the facility, which will be just like filling up a car with CNG or LPG. Hydrogen is used in the fuel cell to create electricity which powers the car. The only by-product of the process is water.

Ports of Auckland Ports of Auckland

“If this trial is successful, the technology would have a very wide application,” he said. 

“It could help Auckland and New Zealand towards energy self-sufficiency and our emission reduction goals. Trucks, trains and ferries could also run on hydrogen – something which is already being done overseas – which would be a significant benefit for the community. Hydrogen powered vehicles are quieter and emit nothing more than clean water.”

The Council and transport partners will provide technical support and will purchase hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the project.