We believe gas has a big part to play in New Zealand’s energy future. Thanks to extensive research and close monitoring of international efforts, we’re well on our way to being able to deliver cleaner, more energy efficient gas - and to ultimately delivering zero carbon gas by 2050.
Our path to zero carbon gas
Natural gas and LPG are currently a critical energy source for more than 430,000 kiwi homes commercial and industrial customers – from restaurants and hotels to greenhouses, hospitals and steel makers. At Firstgas Group, we want New Zealanders to continue enjoying the benefits of gas – but we know things need to change if Aotearoa wants to meet its zero carbon target by 2050.
‘Coal town gas’ lights NZ streets, homes and fuels household heating and cooking
The first oil/gas well drilled in NZ.
Street lights go electric.
Natural gas discovered at Kapuni
Maui field discovered
Cleaner burning ‘natural gas’ from Kapuni replaces reticulated ‘coal gas’.
Maui commences production
Introduction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for cars.
Kupe field discovered
First landfill biogas generated to make electricity and piped gas.
Pohokura field discovered
CNG production ceases.
Pohokura commences production.
Tuaropaki Trust Geothermal powered H2 pilot
Crown Minerals amendment Act passed to ban new exploration permits outside onshore Taranaki. 31 active existing permits remain and 15 existing fields will continue to operate.
First Gas Hydrogen Pipeline Trial gets funding form the Provincial Growth Fund
Hyundai Nexo Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) imported into NZ and demonstrated at Field Days.
Hyundai creates the first mobile hydrogne filling station in NZ.
Climate Change Response Ammendment Act passed to set in place climate changes policies that enable NZ to meet our Paris Agreement commitments.
National New Energy Development Centre in Taranaki announced
Hiringa Energy Green Ammonia project with Ballance Agrinutrients announced.
Ecogas biogas project in partnership with Turners and Growers at Reporoa commences.
H2 Taranaki Roadmap produced to show the potential for a hydrogne transition in Taranaki
NZ Hydrogen Vision released by the NZ government.
300,000 homes powered by natural gas accounting for around 1/4 of households.
NZ homes account for less than 1% of greenhouse gases in NZ
120,000 customers use LPG in their homes or businesses.
Around 80% of electricity from renewable energy, 14% from natural gas and 6% from coal
Powerco gas network 95% carbon zero ready, (all subdivisions 100%)
Hiringa/Ballance Green Ammonia project gets PGF funding.
Ports of Auckland Hydrogen demonstration project for forklifts, cars and train
Ara Ake (National New Energy Development Centre) established and leads with a study on Hydrogen for heavy transport.
Construction begins at the Ecogas biogas facility in Reporoa
Beca, Firstgas, Lion, Fonterra and EECA commence industry study on biogas potential
First Powerco biogas and/or hydrogen customer
Hiringa Energy first nationwide hydrogen refuelling networks comes online. Network of 8 refilling stations.
2021 - 2025
First injection of biomethane into the gas grid
Green gas certification and trading scheme developed
Hydrogen physical research development and demonstration projects by Firstgas, PowerCo and other network operators
CCUS pilots at geothermal power station
A Further 16 hydrogen filling stations rolled out by Hiringa Energy
First offshore windfarm
Hydrogen blend introduced into distribution networks
Hydrogen export commences
Biogas production increases and enough biomethane is produced to meet residential gas demand
First biogas project with CCUS to create negative emissions technology
BioLPG production commences in NZ
Hydrogen and biogas emerge as ultra-clean and efficient energy sources?
100 Hiringa energy hydrogen filling stations
Conversion of gas grid to hydrogen commences
Electricity 100% renewable
End of LPG imports as bioLPG production sufficient for local demand
NZ exports 10 MTPA hydrogen powered by offshore wind
Petrol cars imports banned
Conversion of gas grid to hydrogen complete
Our path to zero carbon gas
We’re changing gas for the better
Natural gas and LPG are clean burning fuels with far lower CO2 emissions than coal or wood burners, but – along with the rest of New Zealand’s energy sector – we need to do even better. That’s why we’ve spent three years investigating the possibilities of zero carbon gas alternatives to natural gas and LPG: primarily hydrogen, biogas and bioLPG.
How we're changing gas
With the support of the government’s Provincial Growth Fund, we’re already looking at how we can use our existing gas pipelines to carry renewable gas to Kiwi homes and businesses, including leading part of a Hydrogen Pipeline Trial and being part of a Biogas Industry Study. We’re also closely following the results of extensive hydrogen research and development in Australia and Europe – where some gas networks are already successfully blending up to 20% hydrogen.
As part of the World Energy Council’s Global Hydrogen Initiative, we’ve committed to introducing 20% hydrogen (by volume) into our gas pipelines by 2030. Our research shows that we can convert the Firstgas pipeline network to 100% hydrogen by 2050. This step would reduce New Zealand’s energy emissions by nearly 25%.
If you’re currently using natural gas or LPG in your home or business, the good news is that you won’t need to do a thing. Regular appliances will work on a 20% blend of hydrogen, and our network is already set up to deliver it. So you can continue enjoying the benefits of gas while we make it cleaner behind the scenes.
Gas is getting cleaner. We’re also keeping an eye on other newer technologies to understand their potential and how they can support the energy market in the future.
Hydrogen, biogas and bioLPG
Here’s a bit more about the zero carbon gas alternatives we’re planning to transition to.
Hydrogen is made through the electrolysis of water. This type of hydrogen is zero carbon and can either be burnt like natural gas or used in a fuel cell to produce electricity.
Biogas is a direct, zero carbon replacement for natural gas and is produced by anaerobic digestion of organic waste (food waste, food processing waste, sewage – anything you can compost).
BioLPG is a direct replacement for LPG, produced from waste cooking oil during the manufacturing of renewable diesel and other biofuels. It can be zero carbon depending on the feedstock and sources of energy.
As a member of the Climate Leaders’ Coalition, we’re 100% behind New Zealand’s carbon zero goal. We also want to make sure energy remains affordable and accessible for all Kiwis. It’s a challenge we’ve been working on for some time now, and we believe we’re well on our way to finding a solution.