Aotearoa: Green hydrogen technology ($9.213M)
GNS Science is receiving $9.213 million over 7 years to deliver the Advanced Energy Technology research programme “Aotearoa: Green hydrogen technology”. The following is the public statement for this programme from our contract with GNS Science.
New Zealand’s ambitious goal of reducing carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 requires a progressive phasing out of fossil fuel use in the energy sector. Our Platform aims to deliver transformative technologies that lead to a globally connected ‘green hydrogen’ economy in Aotearoa New Zealand, whereby cleanly produced hydrogen replaces fossil fuels for electricity generation and transportation. This will facilitate NZ’s transition towards 100% renewable energy. Our smaller-scale green hydrogen applications will capture benefits from global R&D advances, while delivering solutions that meet NZ’s needs for distributed generation and storage, and a diversified energy portfolio.
Successful implementation of this Platform’s research outcomes will ultimately enable NZ to shift from being an importer of fossil fuel to becoming an exporter of:
- green-hydrogen technologies; and
- green-hydrogen as a commodity to countries like Japan and South Korea, who aim to decarbonise their energy sectors.
Our research focusses on new, globally transformative green hydrogen generation technologies by tackling significant technological challenges. Our main target is to generate hydrogen-producing technologies that do not depend on high-purity water sources and produce hydrogen directly from sunlight.
Our Platform aims to create next-generation knowledge-intensive opportunities for New Zealanders. We will develop NZ innovation capability by connecting research and education providers with industry. Connectivity Grants and Innovation Placements will facilitate flexible student movement between research and industry. Experienced researchers will mentor early-career researchers and post-graduate students in becoming scientists, engineers, and technicians in new industries. The ultimate outcome will be new green hydrogen producing industries that employ homegrown engineers and scientists, underpinning New Zealand’s distributed green hydrogen economy and export.
Geological resources ($9.8M per year)
Delivering research aimed at helping New Zealand make informed decisions about the sustainable use or preservation of its groundwater, geothermal energy, petroleum and mineral resources.
By 2024, in part as a result of this Platform’s research initiatives, we expect to see New Zealand make optimal use of its geological resources, to underpin secure energy supply (geothermal, oil, natural gas), groundwater use (municipal supply, agriculture, industry), and manufacturing (mineral raw materials), while supporting environmental, cultural or social outcomes. We will deliver data, models and technical solutions to enable these outcomes.
This Platform has 5 science themes:
1.Understanding the Crust ($1.8M): Investigating the composition, structure, tectonics, and geohistory of New Zealand’s largely submerged continental mass of Zealandia.
2.Regional Prospectivity ($2.9M): High-quality prospectivity information to inform geological resource exploration.
3.Exploration and Discovery ($4.1M): Sound, practical knowledge of geothermal energy, groundwater, petroleum and mineral systems to support exploration and sustainable resource management.
4.Recovery ($1.3M): Advanced models and tools to support resource extraction efficiently, sustainably, and in an environmentally and culturally acceptable way.
5.Resources and Society ($0.8M): Supporting the public debate on the effects of resource extraction on the environment with sound information that is widely understood by New Zealand society.
Geological processes and hazards ($16.4M per year)
Delivering research aimed at reducing risks and strengthening resilience to geological hazards.
By 2024, in part as a result of this Platform’s research initiatives, we expect to see New Zealand be more aware of the hazards and risks that we face, and to have new, robust strategies in place for reducing those risks and increasing the resilience of individuals, communities and the nation. We will deliver data, models and technical solutions to enable these outcomes.
The Platform has five science themes:
1.Understanding Earth Processes ($3.2M): Better scientific understanding of the tectonic drivers in collision and subduction plate margins and crustal structure, leading to improved hazard models.
2.Hazard Monitoring ($0.4M): Developing automated detection and notification of geological hazards associated with New Zealand’s active plate boundary, and distal sources.
3.Understanding Hazards ($5.2M): Knowledge of the causes and effects of New Zealand’s main geological hazards (earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption and landslide) to provide the necessary information to develop robust hazard and risk assessment models, and sound resilience strategies.
4.Assessing Risk ($0.9M): Improving the RiskScape tool to provide a greater understanding and quantification of hazard risk.
5.Societal and Economic Resilience ($1.6M): Advancing knowledge of the social, economic, and cultural factors to enhance community resilience and advance decision support tools.
Nuclear and isotope science ($3.4M per year)
Applying nuclear and isotope science and technology to deliver environmental and economic benefits for New Zealand.
By 2024, in part as a result of this Platform’s research initiatives, we expect to see New Zealand’s policies and plans for environment management improved, and shown to be effective, resulting in sustainable economic growth from our land and water resources, a healthy population, and enhanced resilience to anthropogenic pressures on the environment.
We also expect to see a revitalised manufacturing sector with increased innovation and R&D investment, resulting in a significantly greater proportion of exports through use of new high-value materials.
This Platform has 2 science themes:
- Environmental Tracers ($1.8M): Understanding biological, chemical and geological processes based on isotopic and elemental tracers, and applying these methods to evaluate the impact of human activity on New Zealand’s environment.
- Advanced Materials ($0.8M): Ion beam modification of surfaces to create new structures and properties for use in high-value industries.