In partnership with Hiringa, we launch Australasia's first hydrogen refueling network

Date: 23 Apr 2024

Green hydrogen company Hiringa Energy (Hiringa), together with its investors and partners, today launch Australasia’s first zero-emission green hydrogen refueling network, Hiringa Refuelling New Zealand (HRNZ), to propel New Zealand towards its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The initiative is officially being opened by Minister of Energy and Transport, Hon Simeon Brown. With 25 percent of New Zealand's transport emissions coming from the heavy transport sector despite only making up four per cent of the vehicles on the roads, this marks a groundbreaking step towards decarbonising the country’s heavy transportation sector. 

The network has been established in partnership with New Zealand’s leading independent fuel supplier, Waitomo Group, and TR Group, Australasia’s largest heavy vehicle fleet owner. The launch sees three strategically located stations opening in Wiri (South Auckland), Te Rapa (Hamilton) and Palmerston North, with a fourth station in Tauranga progressing as an integral part of the new Tauriko SH29 roading infrastructure. Together, the green energy network is positioned to service 95% of the heavy freight routes across the North Island including the "Golden Triangle" of freight movement (between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga). 

With the opening of the network, hydrogen-powered trucks can go into commercial operation enabling heavy transport to begin its transition to zero-emission alternatives. The refueling stations are powered by clean, renewable energy and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, enabling hydrogen-powered heavy transport vehicles such as trucks and buses to refuel with green hydrogen in 10 to 20 minutes.

"Heavy transport plays a vital role in our economy, but it’s also a significant contributor to our national emissions," says Andrew Clennett, Chief Executive Officer of Hiringa. "As a first-of-its-kind across Australasia and one of the first networks set up globally to service heavy transport, the initiative addresses this major challenge by providing operators with the infrastructure they need to switch to zero-emission transport in an efficient, scalable and commercially viable manner.”

Network infrastructure establishment has received support from the New Zealand Government via a $16M loan, growth capital from key investors including Sir Stephen Tindall’s fund K1W1, and international investment from Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Green Impact Partners alongside Hiringa Energy.

Simon Parham, Chief Executive Officer of Waitomo Group says: "Green hydrogen offers a versatile, alternative solution for long-haul trucking and other heavy transport vehicles as New Zealand begins the switch to future fuel generation. Waitomo has been fueling Kiwis for more than three generations, so we’ll also be part of the fuel solutions for the future generations.

“Partnering with Hiringa allows us to deliver on that vision by collocating the Hiringa refueling sites on our forecourts regularly used by heavy transport operators. Today’s milestone demonstrates what two innovative and entrepreneurial Kiwi companies working in partnership can achieve for NZ Inc.”

Brendan King, Group General Manager, TR Group Ltd: “It has been exciting to be able to enable this groundbreaking initiative by bringing fuel cell truck technology to the NZ market. The technology unlocks a clean alternative for hard-to-abate sectors that are difficult to electrify, where hydrogen meets the intense demands of handling long distances and heavy loads.

This project has been enabled via forward thinking companies such as NZ Post with many more set to come on board. Their early adoption and willingness to trial and introduce zero emission technologies to their fleet is highly commendable as without this leadership, our industry doesn’t get the learnings and proof points to move forward at scale.”

Clennett adds “We cannot emphasise enough the critical leadership role our partners TR Group and Waitomo have played in committing to aggregate fleets of vehicles and provide modern efficient forecourt access in strategic locations respectively.”

The Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell truck has been deployed on commercial operations since 2023, having completed more than 70,000kms, eliminating the need for an estimated 29,700 litres of diesel which represents 80 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, and purifying the air around the vehicle at the same time.

David Walsh, Chief Executive Officer at NZ Post says "While it has been a success seeing their hydrogen truck demonstrating this technology and travelling over 350kms a day (using slower mobile refueling) having the heavy-duty refueling network in place will be instrumental in enabling NZ Post to use this hydrogen truck on longer distances."

With rapid refueling now available this will allow us to operate the hydrogen truck seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with zero emissions. We’re thrilled to see this national network come together."

The infrastructure will in addition set the stage to provide a fast and reliable source of hydrogen to seed multiple other applications including marine, construction, materials handling, stationary power and most notably, aviation.

In partnership with Hiringa, we launch Australasia's first hydrogen refueling network