Mitsui throws support behind hydrogen station developments in New Zealand

Mitsui throws support behind hydrogen station developments in New Zealand

New Zealand’s hydrogen refuelling station network is set to benefit from a new agreement inked between Mitsui and Hiringa Refuelling New Zealand (HRNZ).

As of today (Sep 27) Mitsui is a strategic investor in HRNZ and will help the company achieve its goal of developing four hydrogen stations in the country within 2022.

The rollout will focus on logistics hubs in major cities to help decarbonise heavy-duty transport.

On the plans, Koji Nagatomi, CEO of Mitsui, said “This is a rare opportunity to commercialize green hydrogen and decarbonise heavy-duty vehicles.

“We believe New Zealand is an ideal market to develop and demonstrate the viability of green hydrogen as a next generation fuel.

The news builds on Mitsu’s existing investment in HRNZ’s parent company, Hiringa Energy, and a wider agreement to develop multiple green hydrogen projects in New Zealand.

Further to this, the company has also agreed to invest additional capital into HRNZ following the achievement of key project milestones.

Welcoming the commitment, Andrew Clennett, CEO of Hiringa, said, “It is encouraging to see the partnership envisaged in our 2020 strategic alliance agreement going from strength to strength.

“Hiringa sees Mitsui as a highly aligned investor and strategic partner, and we are excited to be working closely together on the refuelling network.”

Q&A: New Zealand’s hydrogen opportunity and Hiringa Energy’s role in it

Founded in 2016, can you tell us the story behind Hiringa Energy’s creation?

Andrew Clennett (AC): After a number of years of planning we started to get serious in 2016. We were originally four founders; my wife Cathy and myself, Dan Kahn, our Chief Technology Officer, and Matt Carnachan, our Head of Trading & Energy Markets. Between us we appreciated had a unique mix of complementary backgrounds and the skills that hydrogen was going to need to commercialise. 

I had spent 20 plus years’ in the upstream and energy sector, and was moving more into value chain integration. From 2014 hydrogen was really starting to move, so I started to think hard at how one could apply those conventional energy sector skills in a different way to really help crack something like hydrogen commercialisation.

I had taken a sabbatical to Zaragoza, Spain to the World Hydrogen Energy Conference in 2016. It was really interesting to see the shift that was going on; I think there was something like nine conference lines – six or seven of them were academic, one was commercial, and one was stakeholder and strategic. You couldn’t get into the commercial and strategic sessions; there were queues out the door. It was a clear tipping point – something was starting to happen.

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