22 Nov 2022

Renewable gas industry is booming, say industry professionals

7:29 am on 22 November 2022
Hydrogen renewable energy production - hydrogen gas for clean electricity solar and windturbine facility. 3d rendering.

New Zealand innovators were attracted by the excitement of building a whole new category of renewable energy, said GasNZ chief executive. Photo: 123RF

A fledgling Taranaki company working to blend hydrogen into existing gas pipelines says the renewable gas industry is booming.

H2X operations manager Tom Wiseman in New Plymouth said its units will use electricity to combine hydrogen with natural gas at industrial and commercial sites.

This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 percent, he said.

Other companies were developing their renewable interests with New Plymouth's Firstgas to begin a hydrogen trial at Waverley, while in Reporoa unwanted food scraps from cities would be turned into methane, he said.

H2X's operation started three years ago at Bell Block - and they were already seeing commercial gains.

"The unit will use electricity on a client's site and put the electrolyzers on the client's site, and blend it with natural gas to reduce their emissions by up to 25 percent," Wiseman said.

"This will take the first step in the gas transition, opening the door to 100 percent renewable when biogasses are available."

The company looked at what new technology was available overseas to move their business on from fossil fuels.

"We looked at how we could pivot our other business Total Instrument Services after the oil and gas ban," he said.

"We've kind of latched on to a couple of different technologies from around the world that are a bit different to how things have been done over the last 50 years in hydrogen.

"Now we're looking to make them fit as best as possible with the new green options that come with biogas."

He said the renewable gas industry was experiencing an upswing.

"There is no clear winner or clear defined path but there are multiple options available that are definitely going to benefit all gas users," he said.

Wiseman said his company's future strategy also depended on the government's Gas Transition Plan, to be published late next year.

GasNZ Chief Executive Janet Carson said New Zealand innovators were attracted by the excitement of building a whole new category of renewable energy.

"New Zealand companies are recognising the benefits of belonging to a collective that is future focussed and the opportunities the association provides to collaborate with like-minded businesses," Carson said.

"The government's forthcoming Gas Transition Plan considers transition pathways for the fossil gas sector such as renewable gases.

"GasNZ is focussed on these opportunities, while ensuring natural gas and LPG remains available to the million plus, direct gas users, as we make the switch."