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Hiringa: bringing the power of clean green energy to Wiri

Featured by Wiri Business Association on 26 February 2024.


As you travel down the expanse of Roscommon Road, you might have noticed that there’s a shiny new Waitomo fuel stop that has recently opened. This is also home to Hiringa Energy, who are developing New Zealand’s first nationwide green hydrogen refuelling network.

 

We chatted with Ryan McDonald, Head of New Business and Rachel Hopkinson, Project Engineer to find out more about Hiringa, how hydrogen works and the first steps towards a greener future.

 


Tell us about Hiringa and what you do.

 

Hiringa Energy make, move, store and sell green hydrogen for use in transport and industry.

 

Hiringa was founded in New Zealand in 2017 to enable large-scale decarbonisation in a commercially sustainable way, motivated by a desire to address climate change.

 

Hiringa is building green hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure across New Zealand and Australia. The New Zealand refuelling stations provide coverage for the key heavy freight routes and are powered by renewable ‘green’ electricity.

 

How do you make hydrogen and how is it a clean, green source of energy?

 

Hydrogen is made onsite using the process of electrolysis. Electrolysis works by passing electricity through water (H2O) to separate hydrogen (H2) from oxygen (O2). The plant will have the capacity to produce up to 400kgs of hydrogen per day initially, enough to fill 10 buses or trucks and is designed to be upgradable to supply up to 80 trucks/buses per day in the future. The electricity to operate the plant will come via a certified green power purchase arrangement and utilised during off-peak peak times to reduce stress on the electricity network; the water is supplied via the existing Wiri municipal water supply.

 

Once produced the hydrogen is then compressed and stored onsite before being dispensed into a heavy vehicle.

 

Hydrogen is a clean alternative to the fossil fuels we use in transport and industry. Each large diesel truck replaced with a hydrogen powered truck is equivalent to taking between 50-150 petrol powered passenger cars off the road. 

 

How do you plan to grow the network?

 

Hiringa is partnering with Waitomo to open New Zealand’s first four zero-emission heavy vehicle green hydrogen stations in the North Island – these will be in Palmerston North, Hamilton, Auckland (Wiri), and Tauranga – operational early this year with a further twenty throughout New Zealand by 2028. Once operational, hydrogen-powered heavy transport vehicles such as trucks and buses will be able to refuel at the stations in similar time to what they are used to if they were filling a diesel truck or bus. 

 

An initial fleet of 20 zero-emission hydrogen-powered trucks has been purchased by Auckland based TR Group to operate on the network. Built to meet New Zealand regulations and the demanding road conditions, the trucks will be a high productivity alternative to the existing fossil fuelled road transport. Hyundai New Zealand is also bringing five hydrogen fuel-cell heavy-duty trucks to New Zealand, with one of these already in work for NZ Post using a temporary hydrogen refuelling setup. 

 

Will the network just be for trucks?

 

The network will also be able to provide a fast and reliable source of hydrogen for multiple other applications including aviation, marine, construction, materials handling and stationary power.

 

Whilst the network is design principally to refuel heavy trucks and buses the stations will still be able to provide H35 (350barg) filling to passenger cars by mid-year.



Why was Wiri chosen?

 

Wiri was chosen as it is a logistics hub and a gateway to Auckland and Northland, it is also a key node in what is known as the “Golden Triangle” of freight, being Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, hence it is an important location for our current and future customers.

 

Wiri is one of the first four refuelling stations under construction – these four stations will cover 95 per cent of New Zealand’s North Islands heavy freight routes.

 

What has Hiringa learnt from this development that they will take to the next site?

 

Given the refuelling network is the first of its kind in New Zealand, the process has really been about working with partners, suppliers, customers and national and local government who are aligned with the vision to decarbonise. Having all parties working together has been key to ensure all aspects of the hydrogen infrastructure and hydrogen supply chain can successfully operate and achieve New Zealand’s decarbonisation goals.

 

If you’d like to know more about Hiringa Energy, contact Ryan McDonald (Head of New Business) at rmcdonald@hiringaenergy.com

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