Producing hydrogen as an alternative source of energy has been identified as a major research and development (R&D) opportunity for the district, according to a report commissioned by Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).
Sapere Research Group conducted this ‘Identifying international corporates that could benefit from a Queenstown Lakes base’ research which assessed a number of industries to determine the potential to attract international research and development to the district.
QLDC Economic Development Manager Peter Harris advised this forms part of a joint search by QLDC and NZTE for new opportunities that can help diversify the local economy.
“The success of the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds (SHPG or the Grounds) was the spark that led to this research. SHPG’s success is outstanding and we were interested to see if there were any other industries that might be attracted here”.
“Based on this report, hydrogen looks like it would have the most potential. It could be made using hydroelectricity, solar or wind, and would be used as a zero emission fuel for buses, trucks, cars and vessels. It could ultimately form a new industry in our district,” Mr Harris said.
Managing Director of SHPG, Tom Elworthy, supported this research and advised the Ground hosts over 500 automotive R&D staff each winter.
“Not only do we offer them the chance to do winter testing in their summer season, but they love visiting because we are a safe, fun and internationally connected district,” said Mr Elworthy.
The New Zealand Hydrogen Association Chief Executive, Dr Linda Wright, lives in the district and is excited about hydrogen as a zero emission fuel for heavy vehicles.
“Hydrogen has advantages over batteries for long range trucks and buses. The Southern South Island is the ideal place to make and test renewable hydrogen as a way for the tourism and transport industries to reduce emissions,” said Dr Wright.
“We have already received interest from members of the New Zealand Hydrogen Association – Real Journeys and H W Richardson Group – to be a part of a pilot so it will be exciting to see where this leads,” added Mr Harris.
To read a copy of the report, please visit: www.qldc.govt.nz/services/economic-development/economic-development-projects