Friday Offcuts 20 May 2022
Monday saw the release of the NZ Government’s eagerly awaited Emission’s Reduction Plan (ERP). It’s ambitious. It’s extensive – 348 pages and it’s signalled major changes ahead for every sector of the economy over the next 15 years as part of a multi-party commitment to the direction of policy on climate change. We’re also talking serious money here as well with the Government establishing a Climate Emergency Response Fund, a multi-year investment of NZ$4.5b dedicated to climate change initiatives, funded by revenues from the NZ ETS. And yes, forestry and wood biomass, as anticipated featured strongly in this new plan. Of course, the devil is in the detail.
As part of the announcement, NZ$73 million has been allocated towards planting 10,000ha of new forests to produce biomass, NZ$145m for other forest planting and NZ$111m is being set aside for improving carbon stored in natural ecosystems. Forestry’s role in producing alternative ‘green’ fuels also plays a major part in this new plan with NZ$650m being allocated in the Budget to subsidise businesses to buy more energy-efficient manufacturing equipment and switch from fossil-fuelled to low-emissions technology for their heating, boilers and dryers. Freight emissions also plan to be cut 35% by 2035 by deploying biofuels and other carbon friendly technologies. Detailed coverage on the major ERP announcement, links to information and commentary, are contained in this week’s lead story.
Boosting native plantings was also being promoted as part of the ERP. The Government is looking at ways to reduce the cost, or increase the incentive, to plant native forests to act as long-term carbon sinks. It’s a move to try and appease the anti-exotic plantation forestry sentiment out there right now but it continues to be a contentious issue. The Forest Owners Association says that native trees, whilst nice, aren’t going to reduce the country’s net emissions to any substantial degree, this side of next century. Likewise, the Climate Forestry Association points out the folly of restricting exotic trees from the permanent category of NZ’s ETS suggesting that by removing exotics, emissions will increase by 45 million tonnes by 2035.
Also, in the carbon forestry space this week we’ve got an intriguing story about the global insurance giant, the Zurich Insurance Group. They’ve announced that they’re partnering with three carbon removal suppliers, including Australia based InterEarth. However, as they move to their own goal of net zero emissions, they’re not looking at forests to mitigate the impacts of their operations. Instead, they’re turning to a unique process where woody biomass is being buried to remove CO2. The “woody biomass burial method” involves growing highly adapted woody plants on degraded, low rainfall, previously cleared farmland. The biomass is then harvested, it’s buried and it’s encapsulated in subterranean chambers. Interested? Then you can check out the story below.
And finally, Australian’s head off to the polls tomorrow. From a “forestry only” perspective, the Australian Forest Products Association have analysed which of the major political parties comes up trumps with their vision, planned investment and alignment with the sector’s Growth Plan. If you haven’t yet read the summary, details on the AFPA’s analysis can read here. Whoever wins at the polls tomorrow, the election campaign has been described as the most successful in living memory with both the Coalition and Labor already committing more than AU$300 million in new investment for the country’s forestry industry. That’s it for this week.
This week we have for you:
NZ’s first-ever emissions plan releasedNew Zealand’s first Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) is out – revealing how the Government plans to meet the nation’s first emissions budget of 72.4 million tonnes a year.
That means shaving 11.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent off our emissions from 2022-2025. The policies will be backed by NZ$2.9 billion from the proceeds of selling carbon credits to polluters under the Emissions Trading Scheme over the next four years.
So, what’s it mean, and what are some of the policy implications to readers?
Half of all energy is slated to be from renewable resources by 2035. Crucially, this target is for all energy including that powering super-hot industrial boilers and other fossil-fueled manufacturing processes. Previously, the Government had announced a target for electricity only, which in New Zealand is already mostly renewable.
There will be NZ$650 million in the Budget to subsidise businesses to buy more energy-efficient manufacturing equipment and switch from fossil-fueled to low-emissions technology for their heating, boilers and dryers.
In a nod to fuel prices and rising cost-of-living pain, NZ$569m has been earmarked to trial a vehicle scrap-and-replace scheme (i.e cash for old dungers) to help low-income households afford cleaner cars that are cheaper to run.
Freight emissions will be cut by 35% by 2035 by deploying biofuels, hydrogen, zero-carbon trucks and zero-emissions shipping. 30% of cars, vans and utes to be fully electric by 2035 (a policy floated in the Government’s discussion document last year).
The Government has allocated NZ$73 million towards planting 10,000ha of new trees to boost production of wood biomass, to replace coal in boilers. It’s putting money into scaling up production of native seedlings and has set aside NZ$145m for other forest planting and NZ$111m for improving carbon stored in natural ecosystems.
What’s not in there: Concrete measures to reduce new planting of permanent pine trees relative to native forest. (The Government previously said a decision on damping demand for permanent pine plantations will be made by the end of 2022.)
Targeted investment into making forestry and wood processing ‘higher value and higher wage’ sector signal a push towards more tree-based income for the country.
More coverage on the announcements and comment can be found on;
What you need to know about the country’s first-ever emissions plan
Partnership To Reduce Agricultural Emissions
2021 NZ tree stock sales & forest plantingFollowing the main winter planting season, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) undertakes an annual survey of tree stocks sold by commercial forestry nurseries in New Zealand. The results are aggregated to produce estimates of total national sales, and then modelled to estimate the total area of planting by species and species group.
The commercial nursery survey results just released show that 96.5 million seedlings were planted in 2021, which corresponds to an estimated 95 thousand hectares of new planting and replanting. Survey respondents indicated their intention to plant 120 million seedlings in 2022. In 2021, twenty-nine commercial nurseries completed the survey of which eleven supplied bulk sales of mānuka as their primary activity or in combination with sales of seedlings from plantation establishment.
The total area of forest planting in the winter of 2021 is provisionally estimated from the nursery survey data and associated modelling to be 95,000 hectares. The total area of new planting in 2021 is estimated to be in the order of 45,000 hectares. Replanting of harvested areas is provisionally estimated to be 50,000 hectares in 2021.
The 2021 nursery survey asked commercial forestry nursery managers about anticipated sale levels in 2022. All nurseries responded. Their estimates indicate that total seedlings sales may increase to 120 million seedlings in 2022.
For the full report from MPI click here.
Pine ban will leave 45 Mega tonne holeThe NZ Government’s emissions reduction plan has highlighted the extraordinary impact of its proposal to remove exotic trees from the permanent category of the ETS, increasing the country’s emissions by 45Mt – the equivalent of more than two years of road transport emissions – by 2035.
The first of three emissions plans, released yesterday by Climate Change Minister James Shaw, reinforced that “Forestry has a critical, ongoing role in reaching the net-zero component of Aotearoa New Zealand’s 2050 target.” However, the Government’s proposal to restrict exotic trees from the permanent category of the ETS – its first action under the plan’s Forestry section – will ensure that target can’t be met.
Climate Forestry Association spokesperson, Dr Sean Weaver says it is scarcely believable that the Government’s long heralded emissions plan will be undermined by a single policy designed to appeal to the anti-forest lobby.
“The Government is putting New Zealand’s whole climate change strategy on the line for a misguided policy that will affect less than 3% of Aotearoa’s most marginal, rugged and hard to reach land,” says Dr Weaver.
“The emissions reduction plan figures show that removing exotics from the permanent category would increase emissions by 45 million tonnes by 2035. And worse, this is likely a to be a significant underestimate – already the uncertainty created by the consultation has put a large amount of planting on hold.
“Even the first Budget period 2021-2025 is likely to blow out if exotics are taken out of the permanent category of the ETS, given how hard it is to make native planting commercially viable and the impact the consultation on removing exotics has already had on planting rates.
“The Government’s new plan acknowledges that regenerative forestry can improve carbon removal and storage, and protect carbon stocks in the long-term – New Zealand simply cannot afford to reject this vital tool for decreasing our carbon footprint”.
Dr Weaver says although the Climate Forestry Association supports native afforestation, and members have significant native reforestation projects, the slow growth rates of native trees alone will mean their impact on the country’s new carbon budgets will be minor and late.
“While investing in understanding the carbon yield of native trees and finding ways to reduce the cost of native afforestation is a laudable aim, the strategy – as yet undefined by the Government – will do little to meet our immediate needs to address the climate emergency,” says Dr Weaver.
“Exotic trees are our sprinters – they grow quickly and sequester much more carbon over the short term. Native trees, which grow far more slowly, are our long-distance runners, sequestering carbon over the long term. The point is, we need both, for immediate carbon reductions now and long-term sequestration.
“As the Government’s initial plan highlighted yesterday, without the right policy settings that recognise the role of exotic trees in our climate strategy, we will fail to meet our emissions targets. That will cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars as we are forced to subsidise indigenous reforestation, and buy expensive and uncertain credits offshore to offset what will now be a shortfall of nearly 150Mt.
“The Government’s plan has put a great deal of focus on providing incentives to reduce transport emissions. We applaud this because it is long overdue. But there is little point in doing that if at the same time we are getting rid of the exotic reforestation tool that will capture more than two years’ worth of the country’s entire road transport system. The gains we make in transportation reductions will be cancelled out by the losses in the forest sector.
“It’s time this Government took climate change as seriously as it says it does and put every resource that we have available here in Aotearoa to work on reducing emissions.”
Source: Climate Forestry Association
Future Foresters call out to young forestersFuture Foresters (NZ) has opened up their (first) annual applications for committee positions! There are two Exec Committee positions open (2-year term) and Regional Leader positions open across the country (1 year term).
Future Foresters, as a special interest group in the NZIF, is a group of young foresters who aim to promote the forestry sector’s benefits and career opportunities, to provide a network and voice for young/new foresters, to provide professional development opportunities, and to link new and experienced foresters.
Being on the committee will involve organising regional events, opportunities to be on (and contribute to) industry groups, attending careers events, networking opportunities, and promoting forestry, among other activities.
If you’re interested, please fill out an application form and send it to email@example.com. The application form can be found at www.futureforesters.com/getinvolved.
Feel free to share this around if you know of someone who would suit.
If you’ve got any questions, message us on Facebook or Instagram
Applications close 31st May 2022 and positions will be filled by 30th June for a 1st July start for the new committee.
Source: Future Foresters (NZ)
Global insurer teams up with Aussie carbon removerThe global giant, Zurich Insurance Group, recently announced moving beyond the 2050 net zero emissions commitment of other big insurers and set 2030 as its target year. In a news release, Zurich said it has partnered with three carbon removal suppliers, including Australia based InterEarth, to achieve the new goal. InterEarth uses what’s called woody biomass burial to remove CO2.
The Swiss headquartered insurer said the partnerships with carbon removal suppliers are “to balance out our unavoidable residual emissions” and also proactively scale up carbon removal solutions because of the “urgency” of the climate situation.
“Zurich has signed pre-purchase agreements for carbon removal certificates with three carbon removal suppliers, including InterEarth, as a first step to meeting the commitment to remove all residual emissions from its operations by 2030,” said Anja-Lea Fischer, Zurich’s head of operational sustainability.
Fischer said under these agreements Zurich has made advance payments to InterEarth to help fund field trials currently underway and will provide more payments as the project meets milestones. “By adopting this approach, Zurich is supporting the development of the project and the carbon removal industry generally,” said Fischer.
However, she said, Zurich is not actually an investor in the project. “Zurich Insurance Group is supporting early stage and innovative carbon removal solutions that are scalable to further the commercialization of new climate technologies. The group’s participation in such start-up projects is important for the projects to start and expand their operations,” explained Fischer.
The InterEarth project requires the “traditional insurance” needed by any business, she said, including property and liability. However, one interesting insurance option under discussion, said Fischer, is carbon credit assurance products. These provide some insurance cover based on the amount of carbon removal purchased.
InterEarth’s method of removing carbon is an Australian first. “Woody biomass burial is pretty novel. We know of no other scheme in Australia,” said COO and co-founder Steven Avenell, who is based in Perth, Western Australia.
“There is a small operation in the US using waste from logging but there appears to be nothing else in the world with the combination of scale and affordability we hope to achieve,” he added.
The woody biomass burial method involves growing highly adapted woody plants on degraded, low rainfall, previously cleared farmland. The plants are trimmed periodically from the ground up and the harvested biomass is buried and encapsulated in subterranean chambers. The aim, said the Zurich media release, is to permanently store the carbon captured within the biomass.
Avenell said that when forests and woodlands grow to maturity “they exist in a carbon equilibrium with the atmosphere – the amount of carbon being taken in equals the amount being released. The key difference is that we create a carbon pump that can run indefinitely by using coppicing trees that can be harvested of their above ground biomass and regrow multiple times,” said Avenell.
ForestVR™ launch new school resourcesForestVR™ expands to showcase students how they can make a world of difference in Forestry and Wood product careers.
New resources have been launched during Careers Week 2022 that allow school students in Australia of all ages to glimpse a virtual day in the life of a different people working in forestry and wood, without leaving the classroom. ForestLearning’s hugely successful ForestVR technology has expanded with three new engaging, immersive and educational virtual reality (VR) experiences, focussing on careers.
The Australian forestry industry directly employees about 80,000 people, who contribute to sustainable forest management in a variety of ways. ForestVR’s Careers in Forests and Wood series will transport students virtually into Australia’s forest and wood products industry to discover some of the people who work there and the many different and rewarding careers the industry has to offer.
The original ForestVR toolkit was launched in 2019 and was designed through extensive consultation with teachers and the forestry industry, with the goal of educating students on the renewable cycle of productive forests to create wood products like timber and paper in a new way.
With the onset of restrictions on excursions and work experience programs around Australian schools due to COVID-19, ForestVR provides a timely solution to geographical access problems, while also overcoming the safety issues associated with visits to physical forests and timber processing facilities.
The Careers in Forests and Wood virtual reality tools will give students a first-hand insight into what three different careers in forestry and wood processing involve.
Get to know Forester Courtney Pink of SFM Asset Management, who works to grow and produce timber, while sustainably managing and protecting the environment, including trees, plants and animals, waterways, and Indigenous Australian cultural sites.
Experience a day-in-the-life of Environmental Forester and Ecologist Jack Carter of Australian Bluegum Plantations as he carries out wildlife surveys, native forest regeneration, the building and installing of nesting hollows. This work is conducted with a view to ensuring Australia’s hardwood plantation forests, and all the timber products sourced from them, remain amongst the most sustainable in the world.
Students will also meet Wood Processing Cadet Kayla Austen of AKD Softwoods, as she undertakes a wide range of exciting work opportunities throughout her cadetship that exposes her to nearly every aspect of the business. Learn how she is using these experiences to refine her practical skills and knowledge and develop her future long-term career in wood processing.
Additional new ForestVR™ experiences will also launch in June with the world-first Forest Science Explorers series, developed for primary school students to visit four of Australia's unique forest types in 360-degrees and compare their adaptions to their local environment – the wet eucalypt forests of Tasmania, cypress pine forests of western Queensland and New South Wales, dry eucalypt forests of eastern Australia, and Jarrah forests of Western Australia.
The final theme in the new ForestVR series is Agroforestry: Trees at work on the farm, that will allow high school students to pay an immersive visit to three farms around Australia that are successfully incorporating trees into their farming landscapes to achieve a range of economic, social and environmental benefits. This theme will be of particular interest to teachers looking to showcase achievable and sustainable practices that could help Australia become carbon neutral by 2050.
The latest suite of VR experiences represents a significant expansion to ForestVR, and is testament to the popularity of ForestVR amongst Australian teachers.
The three new VR resources can be viewed here
Native trees won’t solve climate emergencyThe Forest Owners Association says the just released Emissions Reduction Plan is a welcome and unprecedented blueprint for reducing New Zealand’s gross emissions. But the Association is warning that a huge emphasis in the ERP on planting native trees ignores how urgent it is to deal with the climate change crisis.
The Forest Owners Association President, Grant Dodson, says he, and just about every other New Zealander, are fans of native trees and would like to see more of them planted. “They are our original land cover. Indigenous trees are deeply imbedded in our culture. Species, such as rimu, kauri and pūriri are fantastic trees and produce great timber and wood.”
“But native trees are not capable of reducing our net emissions in any substantial degree this side of next century. They grow too slowly. In many cases, expectations of carbon sequestration from natives are overstated in the current official data tables. That makes the problem worse.”
“It’s a fact of life that exotics, such as pines or eucalypts, do a much faster job of locking up atmospheric carbon. That’s why the Climate Change Commission last year budgeted another 380,000 hectares of additional exotic planting by 2035. Native trees are a decoration in climate change efficiency terms. A great decoration to be true. But a decoration nonetheless. In fighting climate change, we need tools - not decorations.”
“We could plant enough huge areas to get some carbon volumes from native trees earlier than the year 2100. But I’m sure farmers wouldn’t like millions of hectares of farmland going into kowhai or tutu. It’s also hugely expensive and difficult to establish forests of mixed native trees. Browsers, such as possums eat them. Weeds, such as old man’s beard, grow all over them.”
“Future planting is always going to be a mix of both native and exotic. Native trees have their place. But there is a huge income opportunity for farmers from fast growing exotic trees. There are very compelling economic benefits to New Zealand if we diversify farm revenues this way,” Grant Dodson says.
“We especially welcome the government’s plan to expand forestry extension services and invest in bioenergy. But we seriously caution the focus on native plantings as a way to help solve the climate emergency.”
Source: Forest Owners Association
How phantom forests are used for greenwashingCapturing carbon by increasing forest cover has become central to the fight against climate change. But there's a problem. Sometimes these forests exist on paper only - because promises have not been kept, or because planted trees have died or even been harvested. A new effort will now be made to track success and failure.
Dr Jurgenne Primavera is being paddled in a canoe along the coast of Iloilo in the Philippines. It's an idyllic scene but she is frowning. Six years ago, these shallow waters were planted with mangroves as part of the country's ambitious National Greening Programme, but now there is nothing to see but blue water and blue sky.
Ninety per cent of the seedlings died, Dr Primavera says, because the type of mangrove planted was suited to muddy creeks rather than this sandy coastal area. The government preferred it, she suggests, because it is readily available and easy to plant.
"Science was sacrificed for convenience in the planting." The National Greening Programme was an attempt to grow 1.5 million hectares of forest and mangroves between 2011 and 2019 but a withering report from the country's Commission on Audit found that in the first five years 88% of it had failed.
Tim Christophersen, until this month head of Nature for Climate with the UN Environment Programme, says that of the one billion hectares of landscape that countries have promised to restore worldwide "most" remains a promise rather than a reality.
Increase in DOC land destroyed by wild firesThe area of Department of Conservation (DOC) land in New Zealand burned in unwanted fires is rising rapidly yet the agency is doing just the bare minimum to protect land and has taken no accountability, National’s Fire and Emergency Spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“Fire and Emergency New Zealand has responded to at least 109 fires on DOC land since the 2019/20 fire season destroying more than 13,600 hectares of Public Conservation lands over the past three years. To-date, that’s a seven-fold increase on the 2,003 hectares destroyed by wildfires for three years period before 2019/20.
“Cracks in the management of unwanted fires on DOC land started to show when regulatory control over Public Conservation Lands was transferred from DOC to FENZ in 2017.
“Since then, DOC has essentially taken a hands-off approach to fire management on its land. DOC has reduced its funding from a ten-year average annual spend of NZ$10.4 million before 2017/18 to a current annual average of NZ$3.6 million for the past three years.
“It has also significantly decreased resources for rural fires, now owning no hill and high-country fire-fighting equipment, having fewer trained firefighters now than in 2017 and retaining only a small number of trained fire managers.
“The problem with FENZ picking up all the slack is that they don’t have the same capabilities to fight rural fires as DOC did prior to 2017. For example, FENZ only has one senior line manager in the top three tiers of management with experience in rural land management.
“DOC is also failing to take accountability for poor fire protection of its land. Following the 2020 Lake Ōhau fire which destroyed 48 buildings and burnt more than 5,000 hectares, then-Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage rejected public claims that overgrown, dry vegetation on poorly managed DOC land allowed the fire to get so out of control.
“DOC and FENZ need to take ownership of fires on DOC land, rather than just pointing at each other to solve the problem.”
New WPMA Chair electedAfter serving as the Wood Processors & Manufacturers Association of NZ’s Chair (and previously the Wood Processors Association) for the last nine years, Brian Stanley has stepped down and retired from his position as Chair. WPMA would like to acknowledge Brian’s outstanding contribution to the organisation as Chair during a time that has experienced significant change within the wood processing and manufacturing industries.
Having spent his working life within the wood processing and manufacturing industries, Brian was able to provide a considerable knowledge and insights on the industry. WPMA wish to acknowledge Brian’s service and effort in leading and guiding the organisation over the years, and wished him well for the future.
WPMA are pleased to announce that John Eastwood has been elected by the Board as WPMA’s new independent Chair. John brings a wealth of knowledge of the building industry in his past role as Head of Pre-Construction Services of XLam and now as the General Manager of Portacom Building Solutions.
Robots to build WA University BuildingIn conjunction with Aurecon and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), robots are being trialled on a Western Australian construction site in a world-first project at Murdoch University. The robots have been designed by UTS researchers to deliver cumbersome screw fixings. This task can cause fatigue and injury in workers given the repetitive and labour-intensive nature of this work, especially on Mass Engineered Timber (MET) construction projects.
The catalyst for the trial is the construction of Building 360 at Murdoch’s South Street campus – a technology-rich, MET building which will accommodate up to 60% of the university’s teaching requirements. Building 360 will be the largest MET building in Western Australia and a demonstration of Murdoch’s commitment to sustainability, aiming for a 6 Star Green Star rating once complete.
Murdoch University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Deeks says Building 360 would transform the student and staff experience through offering new, digitally enabled teaching and learning spaces in an environmentally friendly design. “The concept was developed to trial robots installing screw fixings – an important, but labour-intensive task, that’s essential on MET construction sites.”
Aurecon’s Managing Director, Built Environment Australia, Tim Spies, says, “The long-term objective is to prove that the modular nature of timber construction will benefit from the automation of some on-site construction activities, helping to increase productivity, reduce cost, improve workers' OH&S, and advance innovation in the construction industry.”
UTS Robotics Institute and the project leader, Dikai Liu says intelligent robots are changing construction. “Construction sites are varied, complex and changing – and that can be a real challenge for a robot to navigate and conduct operations such as drilling a screw into the right position,” Professor Liu says.
“What we have been able to design is an intelligent robot that can focus on an important task even amidst this disruptive environment.” There are around 200,000 to 300,000 screw fixings on the Building 360 construction site and the robots was trialled installing approximately 50 to 100 fixings as part of the proof of concept.
Photo: UTS research engineer Khoa Le watches as the robot installs a screw fixing. Trevor Collens
Source: architectureanddesign, AFR
Timberlink unveils new technology at Bell BayTimberlink’s EGM Sales, Marketing & Corporate Affairs David Oliver was pleased to welcome Federal Member for Bass Bridget Archer to the Timberlink manufacturing facility at Bell Bay on Monday for the unveiling of a new world-class Green Mill Vision Scanning System.
The AU$5.5m co-investment in the continuing upgrade and modernisation of Tasmania’s largest softwood timber manufacturing plant is supported by AU$3.5 million from the Federal Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Community Development Grants Programme.
The Bell Bay Softwood Mill employs 200 people and provides a value-add of AU$150 million to the George Town economy” Timberlink’s David Oliver said. “The upgrade will increase the volume of high-grade timber sourced from renewable pine plantation and creating a workplace of the future, with high tech machinery improved accuracy, safety, and job security”
Federal Liberal Member for Bass Bridget Archer said that growing manufacturing capability and securing jobs in the region was all part of her plan for northern Tasmania. “I was a strong advocate for this investment, and it is great to join with Timberlink today to celebrate the delivery of a word-class facility and the jobs it has secured for northern Tasmania” Ms Archer said.
This investment supports the major upgrade that was recently announced by Timberlink of an AU$63 million investment to increase timber manufacturing in Tasmania by 2025 by 50%.
Photo: Timberlink’s Site Manufacturing Manager at Bell Bay, Scott Freeman and David Oliver, EGM Sales, Marketing & Corporate Affairs with Mrs. Bridget Archer MP
NZ’s first Green Hydrogen refuelling siteConstruction of New Zealand’s first high-capacity green hydrogen refuelling station has started in Palmerston North. The site, adjacent to Palmerston North Airport, is the first of four hydrogen refuelling stations to be developed by innovative Kiwi energy companies Hiringa Energy and Waitomo Group.
The partners are building New Zealand’s first nationwide hydrogen refuelling network. Andrew Clennett, CEO of Hiringa Energy, says this is one of the first refuelling networks for heavy transport in the world.
Financial backing for the project has been provided through investment from Hiringa’s Strategic Alliance partners, Mitsui and Co (Asia-Pacific), Government funding from EECA and the COVID-19 Recovery Fund, and growth capital from key investors including Sir Stephen Tindall’s K One W One and international funders.
Waitomo Group is self-funding its investment in the project because the Kiwi business sees hydrogen as an important step in the transition to lower emission fuels. Waitomo Group Managing Director Jimmy Ormsby says breaking ground at the Palmerston North airport station marks a major milestone for the partnership.
Mr Clennett says heavy transport makes up only four per cent of New Zealand’s vehicles, but accounts for more than 25 per cent of our total vehicle emissions. “Green hydrogen is the key technology that will allow these fleets to stay on the road. It is a mass-market, clean energy solution that can have a real impact on reducing our transport emissions,” Mr Clennett says.
Specialist hydrogen equipment for the station has been sourced from Europe. The station will be built next to a Waitomo Group Fuel Stop, servicing petrol and diesel customers. Once operational, hydrogen-powered heavy transport vehicles such as trucks and buses will be able refuel at the station in similar time to what they are used to.
The partners say another three hydrogen refuelling stations are due to begin construction later this year, in Hamilton, Tauriko and Auckland, creating a North Island network servicing more than 95 per cent of New Zealand’s heavy freight routes.
More than NZ$50m has been invested in the first phase of the project and detailed engineering and compliance work has been completed. Expansion of the refuelling network into the South Island will begin in 2023, with 24 high-capacity refuelling stations due to come online across New Zealand in the next 4-5 years to support a growing fleet of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
An initial fleet of 20 zero-emission Hyzon hydrogen-powered trucks to support the network has been purchased by TR Group. Built to meet New Zealand regulations and the demanding road conditions, the trucks will be capable of over 600km of range between refuelling stops.
Hyundai New Zealand is bringing five hydrogen fuel-cell Xcient heavy-duty trucks to New Zealand, with the second arriving soon. Both Hyzon and Hyundai have received support from EECA funding.
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... and one to end the week on ... adoption issues
A baby turtle was standing at the bottom of a large tree and with a deep sigh,
started to climb.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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