TIL Logistics paves the way for reducing emissions with hydrogen fuel cell technology

Did  Energy  Minister  Megan Woods    just get lucky?   In the  week  she signed up to  work with Japan  in developing  hydrogen technology in the move to a  low- carbon  economy,  the big  transport  firm  TIL Logistics Group  says  it is  working with New Plymouth-based Hiringa Energy  on hydrogen fuel cell technology transport solutions in NZ.

The project has the potential to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from TIL’s national fleet of 900 trucks, 310 forklifts and 170 light vehicles.

Woods   has been under  fire    for  the  ban   she  imposed on  offshore oil and gas  exploration.  But  with  TIL   leading the way  on hydrogen fuel cell  technology, it  may be  the  transition  away from  fossil  fuels  may go  faster  than even the government could have expected.

The cooperation agreement between NZ’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reached in Tokyo on October 23 by Minister Woods and Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister,  is the first  of  its kind  that  Japan has  signed.

Woods  says  she regards hydrogen as one of the potential tools that will help assist NZ to reduce global emissions.

“NZ and Japan are both intent on transforming their respective energy and transport sectors as we make the transition to a low-emissions economy and this partnership will allow the exchange of information to enhance hydrogen development.

“NZ has an abundance of renewable energy that could be used to produce hydrogen as a next generation fuel in a sustainable way.There is already cooperation between NZ and Japan in this space, with the planned construction of a pilot hydrogen production plant between Japan’s Obayashi Corporation and Tuaropaki Trust in Taupō using geothermal energy”.

She hopes the agreement will spark interest among Japanese corporates to consider NZ as a partner in their development of alternative fuel sources.

This  was followed  by  TIL’s announcement  of its  hydrogen move  which is to  proceed  in three  phases:

The first phase, from now until mid-2019, will develop business cases for pilot projects and identify the key metrics for commercial scaling. This phase will leverage the $950,000 funding Hiringa has secured from the Provincial Growth Fund for the development of hydrogen fuel infrastructure.

Phase 2 will pilot hydrogen fuel cell solutions for TIL’s operations, with a target for first vehicle trials in 2020.

In Phase 3, the rollout of hydrogen fuel cells to power TIL’s vehicle fleet will be co-ordinated with investment in refuelling infrastructure, which Hiringa is scoping and developing with a range of partners.

TIL Logistics CEO Alan Pearson says while there is a range of production, deployment and infrastructure options to be worked through, the use of hydrogen fuel has the potential to power the company’s fleet from a renewable source.

Hydrogen technology offers a zero emission fuel solution. There’s no combustion and the only emission is water vapour.

“This underscores the work TIL is doing as a member of the Climate Leaders Coalition to reduce our carbon emissions and lighten our environmental footprint.

Hiringa Energy CEO Andrew Clennett said hydrogen is a fuel of the future that is ready to implement now.

“Hiringa is excited to combine our capability with partners such as TIL Logistics to create a commercially viable network of renewable hydrogen generation, distribution and refuelling infrastructure across NZ.

“Hydrogen has a natural advantage for the commercial and public transport sectors with its fast refuelling times, long range and higher payloads.We have experienced first-hand the operations of hydrogen fuel cell vehicle fleets already in use in transportation systems overseas.

“NZ with its existing infrastructure, industry and renewable energy potential is very well suited to implementing this technology. It is envisioned that hydrogen fuel cell heavy transport will ultimately deliver a lower total cost of ownership than the incumbent diesel technology, yet without the emissions.”

So  its  trebles all  round.

4 thoughts on “TIL Logistics paves the way for reducing emissions with hydrogen fuel cell technology

  1. The issue with hydrogen is not that it has low emissions it is how to make hydrogen. Pure hydrogen does not occur naturally. In broad terms, making hydrogen is by two ways only. Hydrolysis of water – i.e. splitting the hydrogen atom off from the oxygen atom or extracting hydrogen from a natural gas stream. As to the first – this requires a lot of energy, typically electricity – and it needs a lot of energy to do so. The second takes a primary energy source, natural gas, that is easily transported, has multiple uses and converts that energy source into something that has way less energy (around 40%), is difficult to store and transport and has nothing like the energy density of natural gas.
    Hydrogen fuel cells have been around for decades – its not new technology – and have never been widely adopted because it is demonstrably way less efficient than the energy sources needed to make hydrogen.

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  2. Supporting Sceptic, Hydrogen has been the fuel of the future for about as long as fusion reactors, and we are no closer to either. It is one of those look good for Minister’s projects that will go nowhere and be forgotten about after the election.
    Liquid Fuels are about half our energy use and about half of that is diesel. That means to generate the hydrogen, we are going to need to double our electricity generation, all from renewables. Can you see that happening? Me neither.
    There are massive problems with hydrogen storage and its flammability limits are the widest of any fuel. Both of which make it an accident waiting to happen.

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  3. Putting aside how effective hydrogen fuel cells will be, perhaps someone could ask the appropriate Ministers what is being done to equip Fire and Emergency NZ with the equipment necessary to fight fires from alternatively powered vehicles.

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