Sharechat Logo

First Gas eyes national energy centre for hydrogen pipeline trial

Thursday 9th May 2019

Text too small?

First Gas says a hydrogen pipeline trial it plans is likely to be among the first projects undertaken at the National New Energy Development Centre being set up in Taranaki.

The company, which operates the trunk gas transmission network in the North Island, plans to select part of a pipeline network to test a range of assets on various blends of hydrogen gas, the best sources of hydrogen for those locations, and how to measure and meter energy flows.

“Hydrogen is emissions-free at the point of use,” chief executive Paul Goodeve says. “Trials are starting up all over the world and must start here in New Zealand if we are to have all options on the table to achieve our zero-emission targets.

“The trial is intensely practical: we need to work out what we need to modify on our network to transport the gas, and what adaptations users may need to make to machinery and practices.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today said the government will spend $27 million to establish the new energy centre in New Plymouth as part of a strategy to help Taranaki’s long-term transition away from oil and gas. A further $20 million will be available over four years for research into “cutting edge” such as organic photovoltaics, superconductors and nanotechnologies.

Hydrogen is being investigated worldwide as a low-carbon transport fuel, as an alternative to natural gas in industrial processing or domestic heating, or simply to reduce the emissions impact of existing piped gas services.

But the economics are challenging, whether it is made from renewable electricity, or from natural gas with the resulting CO2 then sequestered. New Zealand’s highly renewable electricity system may tend to push the use of hydrogen into niche freight and heavy transport applications, Concept Consulting said in study published in February.

First Gas, based in New Plymouth, is the country’s third-largest residential pipeline operator after Powerco and Vector. It also owns the Rockgas LPG business and the Ahuroa gas storage facility near Stratford.

“Transitioning to emissions-free energy poses tough technical and real-world challenges, and Taranaki holds the bulk of New Zealand’s expertise to do this,” Goodeve said. “Our project team will collaborate with others at the centre to develop solutions that work in the future energy sector.”

Commercial and regulatory general manager Ben Gerritsen said the firm is keeping abreast of a range of similar studies being carried out in the US, Australia and the UK.

But he said it is important to test hydrogen’s potential in the local market and within the industry’s regulatory arrangements.

The timetable for establishing the new centre is unclear. In the meantime, Gerritsen said the firm will press ahead with the first stage of its work.

Feasibility assessment and pipeline selection will establish a work programme to tool-up a section of the network so that it can transport hydrogen to participating end-users. That initial work should be wrapped up by the end of next year, Gerritsen said.

Hydrogen is already made from gas in Taranaki, but First Gas says local expertise and technology could provide a dedicated source using wind or other renewable electricity to power an electrolyser that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen.   

(BusinessDesk)



  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comment:
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

NZ dollar stalled; US-China trade deal may be postponed
AFT Pharmaceuticals starts to hit its straps
Crown seeks US$100m from Tui operator; Prospector moving on
Pacific Edge goes back to shareholders for another $20m
Crown seeks $100m from Tui operator Tamarind
Ryman underlying annual profit may rise by up to 17%
NZ dollar eases on increasing US-China doubts, lack of news in Fed minutes
From dog tucker to top dog: economists ask how Northport can be Auckland’s best replacement
MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Metlife jumps on takeover talk
NZ dollar eases on technical factors, buoyed by higher dairy prices

IRG See IRG research reports