Auckland Transport (AT) and Hiringa Energy Limited (New Zealand’s hydrogen supply and refuelling infrastructure developer) are planning to trial hydrogen-powered bus services by using a hydrogen refuelling facility being developed in south Auckland.
Auckland Transport, through its Low Emission Bus Roadmap, identified hydrogen as potential energy storage and fuel for its public transport fleet. It is also considering hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) bus options and is a partner with Ports of Auckland in the hydrogen demonstration project.
Auckland Transport will focus on exploring hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) bus fleet deployment under a new bus fleet ownership model incorporating hydrogen supply. It will also study the potential supply of green hydrogen to support future hydrogen ferry services.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, “Transport makes up more than 40% of Auckland’s emissions profile, so transitioning to low and zero-emission vehicles is important to helping Auckland achieve its climate change goals.”
He added, “With the right infrastructure, hydrogen has the potential to power our buses and other parts of our vehicle fleet, which will help reduce emissions and lower air pollution in Auckland.”
Shane Ellison, the Chief Executive of Auckland Transport, said that there is a great benefit in exploring, with Hiringa, potential hydrogen refuelling solutions for low emission bus and ferry services using green hydrogen fuel.
“This would support our existing work with Ports of Auckland. Fuel cell buses meet the heavy daily demands of public transport. Hydrogen-powered buses and ferries would overcome the challenges of large and heavy battery packs on bigger buses and ferries. Hydrogen fuel offers far greater flexibility for public transport operators and will complement battery-electric services,” he added.
Andrew Clennett, Chief Executive Officer of Hiringa Energy, said: “We often see people expecting a two-horse race between hydrogen and battery electric with only one winner. In reality, it’s going to need a mix of both technologies, with each playing to its strength.”
Hiringa Energy claimed to the first company in New Zealand dedicated to green hydrogen supply and providing hydrogen solutions for industry, the public sector, and transport operators.
New Zealand has recently announced a NZ$ 50 million (US$ 36 million) fund for buses powered by electricity, hydrogen or other sources that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kiwi government also said that it would target to buy only zero-emission buses by 2025 and aim to decarbonise the public transport bus fleet by 2035.