Saturday, June 15, 2024

NZ partnership with Germany to boost green hydrogen research

A green hydrogen research partnership with Germany will support Aotearoa New Zealand’s move towards a more sustainable, low-emissions economy, Research, Science and Innovation Minister, Ayesha Verrall said today. 

The New Zealand-Germany Green Hydrogen research programme will see the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the German Ministry of Education and Research jointly invest in significant green hydrogen research. 

“Green hydrogen could play an important part of the clean energy mix needed to ensure a sustainable future. We are investing $6 million in three projects with each receiving $2 million over three years,” said Dr Verrall.

“The partnership will provide research opportunities in both countries through close cooperation in the development of new green hydrogen technologies and processes.

“Green hydrogen could be an important part of the clean energy mix needed to ensure a sustainable future.

“It could help us to reach our goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and to transition to a clean, green and carbon neutral economy by 2050,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, an equivalent German fund will provide funding for German green hydrogen research projects. 

“Germany is a major partner for New Zealand across many research fields and a world leader in green hydrogen research and development. The research programme will create international collaboration opportunities that enrich our research excellence and impact through global connections.”

“Opportunities that the programme provide for New Zealand research teams include working with German partners with world-leading expertise in their field, and gaining access to leading-edge European research facilities and equipment,” Dr Verrall said.

University of Canterbury (UC) Civil Systems Engineering Lecturer Dr Rebecca Peer (pictured) and Senior Lecturer Dr Jannik Haas are leading the collaboration supported by MBIE’s Catalyst Fund.

“We want to develop the most advanced integrated energy system model for New Zealand,” Dr Peer says.

“This will include electricity, heat and transport demands at the urban, suburban and national scale. Green hydrogen can play different roles across all those different sectors”.

Dr Peer, who specialises in computational modelling and data analysis relating to energy systems, says it’s this integrated approach that sets their work apart. Dr Haas says their work will provide scientific evidence to quantify a comprehensive green hydrogen strategy for New Zealand.

“The industry and transport sectors currently emit a high proportion of New Zealand’s greenhouse gases. We want to understand the role of green hydrogen in meeting New Zealand’s net-zero goal,” he says.

“How much we can use it cost-effectively and what for – including its potential as a fuel for planes and ships or potentially export it to the Pacific Islands – is what our project is designed to assess and quantify.” 

He says hydrogen has the potential to perform many roles but there are challenges with its cost-effectiveness, given its lower efficiency, that need to be assessed thoroughly.

“With one over-arching model that encompasses different sectors, energy technologies, applications, and services, we think the future of hydrogen can be fully understood.”

“We hope to deliver an energy system pathway and provide some answers for the New Zealand Government and the energy industry as well as understanding business cases for local communities. We would like to extend an open invitation to participate in our workshops throughout the project.”

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