Germany – New Zealand work on green hydrogen development


Germany New Green Hydrogen Alliance has been established between Germany and New Zealand.

The Alliance was born when German Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht (HZG) approached Otago researcher, Professor Sally Brooker, to establish a joint research centre on green hydrogen following a call from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to fund bilateral initiatives in the Asia-Pacific Research Area (APRA).

The main purpose of the BMBF-APRA partnership is to support the establishment of collaborative links and lay the foundation for a physical presence of German partners in New Zealand. BMBF approved phase one and have invited the Alliance to submit a full proposal.

Together with Associate Professor Aaron Marshall from University of Canterbury, Professor Brooker has brought together researchers and engineers from universities, Crown Research Institutes (GNS & Scion), the MacDiarmid Institute, Ara Ake, and Callaghan Innovation. These scientists are partnering with private sector experts in the New Zealand Hydrogen Association and consulting with Iwi to build a national ‘Team Green Hydrogen’. The group is also negotiating with MBIE for support for the further development and implementation of the BMBF-APRA proposal.

Green hydrogen – a chance for ‘deep decarbonization’

Green hydrogen is hydrogen created sustainably using renewable energy or biomass. The resulting hydrogen gas can be used to generate electricity, power engines, heat homes and industrial processes, make fertilizers and other chemicals, or to store excess energy until it is needed.

Unlike fossil fuels, or hydrogen produced from natural gas, green hydrogen does not produce greenhouse gases. The only waste product from burning hydrogen is pure water.

Global demand for hydrogen continues to grow, but at present almost all of the 45–65 Mt of hydrogen produced per year is brown hydrogen – hydrogen made from fossil fuels. Brown hydrogen is responsible for 830 MtCO2 of annual CO2 emissions globally.

By contrast, green hydrogen offers a chance for ‘deep decarbonization’ of the economy by replacing fossil fuels, including in hard-to-decarbonize applications such as heavy transport, steel production and energy storage.