Green hydrogen from New Zealand
To limit climate change, joint global efforts are needed and international alliances must be forged. Coordinated by Dr. Paul Jerabek (Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon) and Prof. Sally Brooker (University of Otago in Dunedin), a bilateral hydrogen alliance between New Zealand and Germany is now starting its work. Its goal is to establish a German-New Zealand research presence in New Zealand for research and further development of green hydrogen technologies. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Education (MBIE).
With a capacity of 800 MW, the "Manapouri Hydro Station" is New Zealand's largest hydroelectric power plant. The electrical energy generated here could be used to produce climate-neutral green hydrogen. Photo: Wikipedia
As an energy carrier for many stationary and mobile applications, green hydrogen represents one of the most important cornerstones of an emission-neutral and sustainable energy economy. At the same time, it is an indispensable resource for many chemical industrial processes. Climate-neutral green hydrogen is produced electrolytically using renewable energies such as hydro power or wind energy and therefore does not cause any greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve the set goal of German climate neutrality by 2045, a strong focus must be placed on the research and further development of green hydrogen technologies, ranging from its production to storage and transport to application.
Hand in hand for a common goal
One step in this direction is the establishment of a German-New Zealand research presence with a focus on "green hydrogen" in New Zealand. The BMBF is supporting the researcher and coordinator of the German side, Dr. Paul Jerabek of the Hereon Institute for Hydrogen Technology, with 768,000 Euro over a period of five years. This will enable the construction and purchase of important equipment for the research laboratory and test field for the new technologies to be established at the University of Otago, which will be jointly operated in the near future. Furthermore, it will allow networking activities such as reciprocal research visits by participating scientists and the organization of regular workshops and symposia in both countries.
New Zealand wants to catch up in the transition to green hydrogen as the main future resource for decarbonizing the industrial and transportation sectors. Global demand for hydrogen is growing, but at this point, the 45 to 65 million tons of hydrogen produced annually are generated almost entirely from fossil fuels, causing emissions.
Hydrogen technology projects in New Zealand (present and future). Graphic: https://www.nzhydrogen.org
"From a German perspective, New Zealand is perfectly suited for the collaborative development, testing and establishment of green hydrogen technologies: The country is extremely innovation-friendly, rich in renewable energy sources and, like Germany, has a strong will to become completely climate-neutral as soon as possible," says Dr. Jerabek about the opportunities of the joint research presence. And he adds: "The consortium - consisting of numerous academic and industrial partners from both countries - gives us a wide range and many synergy effects in the planned activities. A variety of topics will be covered by our team, from experimental and theoretical basic research on optimal production and storage of green hydrogen to application-oriented system integration and techno-economic as well as socio-ecological analyses regarding the developed technologies!"
Innovations for hydrogen technology
Prof Brooker describes Germany as an "ideal collaboration partner" as New Zealand plans to use its abundant renewable electricity resources to rapidly transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and green hydrogen technologies, with the goal of becoming a global renewable energy exporter. "I am thrilled that the five-year funding has now been confirmed by both New Zealand and Germany," says Prof Brooker. She adds: "Paul has invested a lot of time and effort in establishing this partnership and attracting the BMBF funding for it. This means we can now work together to carry out this exciting and forward-looking project."
As part of the project, there are also plans to establish a German-New Zealand Green Hydrogen Innovation Campus on New Zealand's South Island, bringing together academic and industrial research partners, and focusing on the development, testing and commercialization of hydrogen technologies in New Zealand. To this end, coordinators are working with private sector experts in the “New Zealand Hydrogen Council” to form a New Zealand "Team Green Hydrogen." Among others, there are already links to Christchurch Airport, Airbus and Air New Zealand. The project opens up new perspectives for the participating industry partners from New Zealand and Germany and provides the blueprint for implementing the technology worldwide.
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