New Zealand hydrogen innovations making global waves

Investing in green hydrogen is not only going to help New Zealand become carbon neutral, but could become worth as much as our agriculture exports.

That's according to Toyota's New Zealand CEO as hydrogen innovations here begin to make waves around the world.

There really is nothing quite like this anywhere in the world, Team New Zealand's foiling hydrogen-powered chase boat is a combination of cutting edge marine design and technology.

"It's a masterpiece that's been innovated here in New Zealand," Toyota NZ CEO Neeraj Lala said. 

It's equipped with prototype fuel cells out of Toyota's head office, giving it a top speed of almost 100km/h and a range of 500km - all with zero emissions.

"This boat was a concept a year ago and to go through the design process and the build process, nine months later be on the water, it's really gratifying," Team New Zealand on water operations manager Chris 'Curly' Salthouse said.

That's how fast the hydrogen industry is moving here and it's making waves overseas.

"Green hydrogen export could be up there with agriculture by 2050 as we chase net-zero by 2050," Lala said.

"That's a big call but there is huge demand overseas for green hydrogen and we are well-placed to be able to capitalise on the opportunity if we move quickly."  

New Zealand's hydrogen capability was put front and centre during the Prime Minister's trip to Japan last month.

"Japan and New Zealand are natural partners in renewable energy," Jacinda Ardern said. 

"That type of announcement on the global stage sets a precedent that we're doing something fairly large here, starts to raise some eyebrows," Hiringa Energy co-founder Dan Kahn said.

It's the ability to revolutionise heavy transport that is already turning heads.

Our first green hydrogen plant has recently opened in Taupō using electricity generated by geothermal power.

This week, work began on the country's first refuelling station.

Remarkably just four stations will unlock the entire North Island freight route network.

"The barriers about what might seem quite impossible become possible," Lala said. 

And it's New Zealand's DIY attitude that's making us world leaders.