Heating homes with hydrogen will be one of the first projects trialled at a new $27m clean energy centre in Taranaki, New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled the plans for the National New Energy Development Centre, which will look at the full range of emerging clean energy options, including hydrogen, back in May (2019).
As well as investing $27m to set up the centre, a further £20m will be used over four years to establish a new science research fund for cutting edge energy technology.
“This centre will complement our investments in hydrogen, Green Finance Ltd, the Zero Carbon Bill and our upcoming renewable energy strategy to help New Zealand create new jobs in new industries while moving away from fossil fuels that cause climate change,” Ardern said.
The hydrogen-pipeline trial will be run by First Gas, which owns and operates gas networks.
The New Plymouth-based company will base staff at the centre to design a run a trial of transmission and end use of hydrogen or hydrogen-blend gas.
First Gas CEO Paul Goodeve said the company is thrilled to be working on a piece of the puzzle for New Zealand’s energy future.
“Hydrogen is emissions-free at the point of use. Trials are starting up all over the world and must start here in New Zealand if we are to have all options on the table to achieve our zero emission targets.”
“The trial is intensely practical: we need to work out what we need to modify on our network to transport the gas, and what adaptations users may need to make to machinery and practices.”
The first task is to identify the best part of the pipeline network to use to test a range of assets on various blends of hydrogen gas, the best sources of hydrogen at those locations, how to measure and meter energy flows, if there are any regulatory issues that need to be addressed and ensure end-users can safely and efficiently use the gas for their energy needs.
The feasibility assessment and network selection work will start this year to establish a timeframe and work programme to tool up a section of the network to start transporting hydrogen to participating end users.
Hydrogen sources are available locally, but local expertise and technology could provide a dedicated source using wind or other renewable generation to power an electrolyser that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen.