Hydrogen in New Zealand

There are opportunities for green hydrogen to reduce emissions in areas that are hard to electrify, support economic development, and underpin our energy security and resilience.

New Zealand has a highly renewable electricity system and significant potential for new generation capacity that could be used to produce green hydrogen as a next generation, low-emissions fuel and energy carrier. Green hydrogen has the potential to help reduce our emissions in some hard-to-electrify applications such as long-haul heavy transport, specialty vehicles, industrial feedstocks, process heat, and in future aviation and marine transport.

Growing New Zealand’s hydrogen industry presents an opportunity to help New Zealand achieve its commitments to reduce net emissions of all greenhouse gases (except biogenic methane) to zero by 2050, create highly-skilled jobs, and could underpin our energy security and resilience by reducing dependence on imported fuels and providing back-up power options.

Hydrogen in New Zealand has potential to support decarbonisation efforts overseas through a future market for export trade of hydrogen or hydrogen-based derivatives. It will be important to ensure be able to increase renewable electricity generation and transmission capacity to match this ambition, without compromising our domestic electrification goals.

As part of 'Electrify NZ' the Government has committed to doubling renewable energy by 2050, and has a programme of work underway to remove red tape to support the private investment needed to achieve this goal. 

Consultation on the Interim Hydrogen Roadmap

In late 2023, MBIE consulted on the Interim Hydrogen Roadmap, which:

  • sets out the Government’s initial position on the opportunities for hydrogen in New Zealand’s energy transition,
  • outlines actions the Government is taking to establish a sustainable and safe hydrogen industry in Aotearoa New Zealand, and
  • signals areas where the Government plans to do further work.

We sought feedback on our understanding of the opportunities and trade-offs for using hydrogen in New Zealand, and the proposed role the Government could play in supporting it. The consultation closed on 2 November 2023, 5pm.

For more information, visit:


Hydrogen projects in Aotearoa New Zealand

New Zealand is home to a vibrant early-stage hydrogen ecosystem. The Government has partnered with communities, industry, and academics to support many of the early projects.

This map shows key hydrogen projects, research and agreements around the country as at April 2022.

map of hydrogen projects

Developing a hydrogen roadmap

The Government committed to develop a hydrogen roadmap as part of the Emissions Reduction Plan released in 2022.

The hydrogen roadmap builds on the green paper A Vision for Hydrogen released in 2019 and forms a pillar of the forthcoming New Zealand Energy Strategy (due by the end of 2024) alongside other projects including the Gas Transition Plan, Energy Market Measures project, Offshore Renewable Energy regulatory framework project, and the New Zealand Battery Project.

We sought public feedback on an Interim Hydrogen Roadmap in late 2023, which outlines the Government’s initial position the role of hydrogen in meeting our energy system, climate and economic goal and proposes government actions to establish a sustainable and safe hydrogen industry in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

We received 81 submissions during consultation and work is currently underway to analyse feedback and identify themes.

All submissions provide us with valuable insight to inform our ongoing work programme.

A hydrogen roadmap for New Zealand

A vision for hydrogen in New Zealand

Reviewing hydrogen regulatory settings

Although hydrogen is already well regulated for its traditional uses, the existing regulatory systems are not well set up to support new hydrogen technologies and applications. It is important to evaluate how fit-for-purpose the current regulatory settings are for new hydrogen technologies and novel applications of hydrogen, such as a low-emissions fuel, and ensure they are consistent with international best practice standards.

Ensuring the current regulatory settings are fit-for-purpose is critical for facilitating the safe introduction of new hydrogen technologies and applications, and in promoting domestic and international investment in hydrogen in New Zealand.

The Government has made it a priority to develop appropriate regulatory settings and standards to facilitate the uptake of hydrogen. Work to date has included:

  • Initiating the Hydrogen Regulatory Settings Project and forming a cross-agency working group to identify and prioritise regulatory barriers to the deployment of hydrogen. A PwC review commissioned as part of this work outlined that the potential regulatory landscape that could interact with hydrogen covered around 90 acts, regulations and technical standards across 6 portfolio areas. This has provided government with a strong foundation to assess and address potential regulatory barriers as a market scales up. 
  • WorkSafe has established a working group to ensure the risks to health and safety in adopting new hydrogen technologies are adequately managed, identify regulatory gaps, and establish whether there are regulatory barriers to industry adopting new hydrogen technologies.

In the Interim Hydrogen Roadmap, the Government committed to regulatory work to enable safe basic operation of hydrogen projects to support near term use cases.

This work builds on the foundations we have built through our cross-agency regulatory work to understand the whole-of-Government regulatory environment. It will focus on making changes needed to enable safe use of near-term activities such as production, storage and distribution, and applications like heavy road transport, building on the discussions we have had to date with sector participants on the barriers they face to deploying hydrogen. The regulatory regimes in scope include (but are not limited to):

  • Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017
  • Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010
  • Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010
  • Land Transport Rule: Dangerous Goods 2005
  • Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimensions and Mass 2016

International collaboration

The Government is collaborating internationally to support research and development of hydrogen technology as we move towards a low-carbon economy. This includes:

Support for hydrogen in the regions

Hydrogen infrastructure built using existing energy sector skills and supply chains could help regions such as Taranaki, Northland and Southland grow new business opportunities based on green hydrogen and create new jobs. 

The government has:

  • Invested $19.9 million through the Provincial Growth Fund, in the joint venture between Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Hiringa Energy to produce green hydrogen from renewable energy and water in Kapuni, south Taranaki.
    PGF investment in green hydrogen(external link) — beehive.govt.nz

  • Co-funded the H2 Taranaki feasibility study and roadmap development, to advance uptake of hydrogen technologies in Taranaki.
    H2 Taranaki feasibility study(external link) — H2 Taranaki

  • Funded First Gas $260,000, through the Provincial Development Unit, to undertake its Hydrogen Feasibility Study, which investigated how existing gas infrastructure could adapt to transporting hydrogen. 
    Hydrogen Feasibility Study(external link) — First Gas

Government investment in hydrogen research, science and innovation

As at June 2023, the government has invested $45.5 million in hydrogen-related research through its research, science and innovation system. For example:

  • $8.5 million from MBIE’s Endeavour Fund in 2020 for GNS Science’s project ‘Powering NZ’s green-hydrogen economy: Next-generation electrocatalytic systems for energy production and storage’
  • $1 million from MBIE’s Endeavour Fund in 2019 for GNS Science research on ‘Nano-catalytic surfaces for efficient, stable fuel cells and eco-friendly hydrogen production’.
  • $9 million from the Government’s Advanced Energy Technology Platform invested in GNS Science’s programme ‘Aotearoa: Green Hydrogen Technology’ in 2020.
  • $6.5 million from MBIE’s Endeavour Fund in 2019 invested in the Robinson Research Institute (Victoria University of Wellington)’s Zero-CO2 production of essential technological metals, which is researching the use of hydrogen in steel-making

Supporting private sector coordination

The New Zealand Hydrogen Council was formed in September 2018 by private and public sector organisations along with seed funding from MBIE to support the progression and uptake of low-emission hydrogen in New Zealand.

New Zealand Hydrogen Council(external link)

Supporting hydrogen vehicles uptake

Converting heavy transport away from fossil fuels is a key step in reducing emissions. To support the uptake of hydrogen vehicles, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has been working with several New Zealand firms on hydrogen demonstration projects through the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund (LEVCF), its successor the Low Emission Transport Fund (LETF), and the government’s $3 billion ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure programme.

The Government has:

  • Committed up to $30 million over 3 years for a Low Emissions Heavy Vehicles Fund, through which hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be eligible, along with battery electric vehicles.
  • Funded Hyundai Motors New Zealand $500,000, as part of round 9 of the LEVCF, to purchase and deploy a fleet of 5 medium duty hydrogen trucks.
  • Loaned Hiringa Refuelling New Zealand $16 million to establish a hydrogen refuelling network, as part of the $3 billion ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure programme.
  • Funded TR Group $4 million in co-funding from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund along with an additional $2 million in co-funding from EECA to purchase up to 20 heavy freight hydrogen trucks. TR Group will lease the trucks to its customers and use Hiringa’s hydrogen refuelling network.
  • Funded Kiwi H2 Ltd, as part of Round 1 of the LETF to convert 2 diesel trucks to run on 40% hydrogen, using an exclusively licensed dual fuel product from the United Kingdom. This will help fleets decarbonise until commercially available and viable 100% zero-emission options are available in New Zealand.

Through the Low Emissions Transport Fund, up to $25 million a year of funding is available to support the development of low emissions technology, innovation and infrastructure. This fund builds on the now complete Low Emissions Vehicles Contestable Fund.

Low Emissions Transport Fund(external link)   Te Tari Tiaki Pūngao Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

MBIE research

MBIE’s Innovative Partnerships team has been exploring hydrogen for advanced aviation under its Clean Technology Portfolio. This has been in consultation with a number of other groups exploring hydrogen in general both inside government and in the private sector. In March 2022, we commissioned Arup to write a report to help identify a suitable airport or airports for trialling hydrogen for aviation in New Zealand and to understand the infrastructure requirements for setting up a hydrogen hub as a first step towards research and development of hydrogen as a low carbon fuel for advanced aviation.

The first part of the report – Trialling Green Hydrogen for Aviation at Airports in New Zealand. The next part will focus on infrastructure requirements at a specific location.

Trialling hydrogen for aviation would contribute to building an advanced aviation ecosystem in New Zealand and attract international research and development investment. It would also accelerate commercial uptake of new technology in New Zealand and overseas, and contribute to the decarbonisation of aviation.

MBIE Innovative Partnerships(external link)

Contact us

Email hydrogen@mbie.govt.nz

Last updated: 31 May 2024