From hydrocarbons to hydrogen - what the Govt's investing in to help NZ transition to a low carbon economy in the wake of its oil and gas exploration ban

From hydrocarbons to hydrogen - what the Govt's investing in to help NZ transition to a low carbon economy in the wake of its oil and gas exploration ban
London hydrogen fuel cell bus. Image sourced from Flickr.

‘Don’t let perfect get in the way of better.’

This is a motto the founders of a hydrogen energy start-up that’s just received $950,000 from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, are keeping at the back of their minds.

Taranaki-based engineers, Andrew and Catherine Clennett, founded Hiringa Energy in February 2017.

They are planning to produce hydrogen fuel to power electric vehicles and buses already used in the likes of South Korea, Japan, China, the UK, Scandinavia and Germany.

The upsides of hydrogen fuel are its cleanliness and efficiency. The hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo for example can be driven for 600km without needing to be refuelled. It doesn’t require recharging like battery-powered electric vehicles either.

Yet ironically, the cheapest way of producing hydrogen fuel is by splitting hydrocarbons or gas - the energy source the Government is trying to phase out by banning new oil and gas exploration.

The idea is to gather excess hydrogen from the major petrochemical companies, and purify it, before putting it in a fuel cell.

Hiringa Energy is talking to Methanex about using the hydrogen by-product from a waste stream at its Motonui plant.

For the hydrocarbon splitting process to be truly zero emissions, the carbon omitted needs to be captured.

Hiringa Energy is looking into converting this to solid graphite.

The other way to get the hydrogen molecule without omitting carbon is by electrifying water.

Using the existing gas resource - for now at least

Speaking to, Andrew Clennett says the initial plan is to use both methods.

In the future he believes it will be more economic for the gas option to be ditched and for renewables to provide the electricity to electrify the water.

This is the ultimate goal.

“Electrolysis from renewables has the advantage of capturing full energy potential of renewables, and as technology improves and prices decrease, electrolysis using renewable energy will become a more cost effective zero emission solution,” he says.

He maintains that with some infrastructure in place, Taranaki is well positioned to generate much of this renewable energy.

But to the get the project off the ground, Clennett accepts using the existing gas resource makes sense.

“Let’s not waste the stuff that already exists, even if it has CO² associated with it,” he says.

“If we can manage CO² or greenhouse gas emissions, that’s what we need to be reducing. Unfortunately we’ve kind of made the methane molecule the baddie here, or the hydrogen carbon molecule the baddie, but we still need those molecules…

“It’s not about the molecule, it’s about the emissions.”

Clennett says “there are a lot of people chasing perfect”, but for it to be economic to scale up the production of hydrogen transport fuel, gas might still have a role.

He notes a hydrogen-powered vehicle that uses hydrogen made from gas still has a smaller carbon footprint than a petrol-powered vehicle.

Asked whether Hiringa Energy would be better placed if the Government remained committed to incentivising green investment, but didn’t ban new exploration (keeping in mind the fact gas is needed in the transition to a low carbon economy and New Zealand’s gas reserves are expected to be depleted within the next 10 years), Clennett says it’s a double-edged sword.

A sense of urgency

Clennett fears the exploration ban will see Taranaki lose the oil and gas experts the hydrogen energy sector relies on.

He also worries that the reduced stream of capital from the oil and gas sector will reduce the funds available to help pay for the infrastructure the hydrogen energy sector needs.

Yet on the flip side, Clennett says the ban has brought about a sense of urgency and government stimulus. 

Noting the amount of upfront capital necessary to bring a new energy source to market, he hopes to continue getting government support through the Provincial Growth Fund, and also the Green Infrastructure Fund.

With Catherine Clennett Hiringa Energy’s sole shareholder, Andrew Clennett says the company hasn’t had to raise its main capital yet.

Yet infrastructure companies, iwi and private investors have expressed interest in the business.

Hiringa Energy is already working with freight and logistics company - Transport Investments, engineering firms - H2H, BTW Company, Beca and Fitzroy Engineering, and regional development agency - Venture Taranaki.

Clennett is confident hydrogen energy really is the way of the future.

He points out South Korea is replacing 26,000 compressed natural gas buses with hydrogen fuel buses.

Japan - the place New Zealand imports most of its cars from - is also betting on hydrogen fuel cars as it fears it won’t be able to generate enough electricity to only run battery cars.

Clennett maintains New Zealand could be “first to be second” in the transition.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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950k I think.


I hope the $ 950 million is a mis-print.

This is abut a mad a scheme as anyone could dream up.

Confuses the offshore fuel cell initiatives which are legislatively required of vehicle manufactures to reduce inner city pollution - nothing whatsoever to do with CO2 emissions reductions.

How do you compress the hydrogen - takes more energy than virtually all other gasses. All the energy from the heat of compression is lost. Hydrogen permeates through steel. Can explode on impact - so a hydrogen tank is a sitting time bomb.

Liquid hydrogen is very difficult to store and transport and again takes even more energy to liquify.

Electrolysis wastes half the energy in producing oxygen. Still left with the need to compress and store the hydrogen.

This is one initiative we can be very confident will simply result in one huge write-off down the track.

Fuel cell technology has been around for many years as in Apollo program - so who is going to use them. Not the vehicle manufacturers who all have their own fuel cell programs in production.

If this sort of initiative had any value - which it doesn't why aren't Honda, Toyota, Mercedes, all lining up to fund it ?

It really is hard to believe that a Government would fall for funding a single $ for this program.

Hydrogen is an energy transport medium - it is not an energy source.

One of the first laws of thermodynamics to optimise efficiency is to use as few transformations as possible. Simply running a modern Atkinson cycle engine on CNG will produce much lower emissions than anything these lads can dream up via a hydrogen path.

Tut, tut, you are letting that Sciency stuff get in the way of a good solid GreenWash. Shame, I say, sir, Shame.

Mo' seriously, this article is, I am afraid to say, a classic Repeating, not in the least Reporting. Otherwise, the rather curly physics/chemistry would have been noted and weighed up. Not the best effort. Can Do Better....

Well, JB is doing a pretty bad bit of science there: "Electrolysis wastes half the energy in producing oxygen."
Pretty sure anybody with half an education would have a giggle at that statement.

But yes, overall he's got the message right, hydrogen is a dead end for mainstream uses. It might have some applications in some niche situations, but not sure I could think of any off the top of my head that are going to be better than solar + battery in some form. I guess if you have an excess of hydrogen being produced in some existing chemical process?

the reviews out on the latest electric cars are awesome. power prices dropping to zero at midday due to solar. good bye petrol i remember when we used to drive petrol cars!!!
Government does not have to do anything except correct some of the porkies flying from oil companies to slow the sudden shift.

"electrifying water" :)

This is govt policy.
The input is fossil fuels.
The output in electric vehicles.
Is everyone feeling better now?

Don't confuse this with good science.

This is an interesting challenge.

On the upside is that the energy density (kW/kg) of hydrogen is really good! The bad side are the hazards and risks, neglecting the fact that current hydrogen schemes are, at best, using hydrogen as a primary battery, where the energy required to collect the hydrogen comes for existing energy sources. Some of the hazards, annoyances, and risks include metal embrittlement (which makes for entertaining storage tank design), the very low volumetric energy density of even liquid hydrogen of about 70 kg per cubic meter, the difficulty in tank sealing as most things are somewhat hydrogen permeable, the very wide explosive mix ratio which results in almost any leak being a potential explosion, the energy conversion losses for manufacture, bulk transport, and conversion back to energy, etc.

If one overcomes these obstacles, and utilizes a renewable energy source to generate the hydrogen, then it will be a successful green energy source. It will be a large challenge.

Nope, the only thing hydrogen is good as a fuel for is nuclear fusion.. but thats on a slightly larger scale than we need.


My experience with working on a program that was to use hydrogen as the source of energy, is that the obstacles and the basic physics of hydrogen make it unlikely that it will become a successful source of green energy, at least for motor vehicles. Maybe there are other good applications, but transport isn't one of them due to the difficulties in the carriage and storage of hydrogen. This is neglecting some of the other issues. The high volume required for a meaningful range is a big issue, even without the attendant high pressurization risks (I'm pretty sure nobody is seriously suggesting using LH2 for motor transport!).

Maybe a H2 generation plant where the energy source comes from a nuke plant... that starts making more sense!

People are not only suggesting H2 for automotive fuel, they are doing it.. stupid tho it is. google Toyota Mirai. Hydrogen gas pressurised to 10,000psi. What could go wrong :)

You might be forgetting hydrazine, and we are a space-faring nation now.

We lob small disposable rockets carrying small disposable satellites into space.. Not really sure that counts as space faring. Does cutting a tree down and launching it into the ocean count as sea-faring?

How much will this 950k change the future climate? Has there been a ROI done on our money? On the plus side great to learn child poverty and bad parenting has been elimininated inside of one term.

Anyone want to invest in development of a solid fuel turbine? A genuine sustainable option. First step would be to generate publicity as part of feasibility by setting the land speed record for a wood powered vehicle. Best configuration is likely the turbine powering electric motors, so a hybrid technology. Not that transport fuel is the best application, but utility level electricity generation, the solid fuel turbine opening up combined cycle efficiencies for a renewable fuel.

Wood pyrolysis oil can be run through a gas turbine or marine diesel. Charcoal slurry through a diesel engine. The tech is all there and some.of the latest charcoal production systems and tree genetics are pretty amazing.
"An economic comparison of charcoal-based water slurries to #2 diesel fuel for fueling diesel engines shows promise for the charcoal-based water sluries diesel fuel. In addition, the potential supply of charcoal is adequate to supply 75% of current diesel fuel consumption."

Problem is collecting the biomass energy and cost efficiently. Not easy.

The purpose bred Brazilian charcoal plantations have it nailed. Electricity export from the pig iron blast furnaces and the pig iron is a net CO2 sink if that turns your dial.

I have been telling Iain Parker of that there is no way he will get honest money for New Zealand until we develop energy independence. I agree with those posting above, hydrogen fueled vehicles is a waste of R&D money. I suspect the primary ability of these two is not engineering, but writing attractive looking investment propositions.

Still worth a punt for the govt to spend about $1m supporting academic research into hydrogen as a fuel - it is a long shot but worth being absolutely up to date (pay a couple of profs to do nothing but read the international literature and attend the conferences). Not quite as happy to see the money going to a specific business. Why them and not some one else for example me?

In a general keeping abreast of things sense you are right, in a specific hydrogen-as-a-battery sense the field is very well understood, and a total waste of money.

this is a good article re energy sources

This is a bad initiative for the government to back because hydrogen is a dead end (at the moment).

First of all I doubt they are developing a world leading process for creating it (separating it). The best option that I can see is using surplus power to split it from water but the problem with that is NZ probably doesn’t have much surplus power due to our excellent capacity for storing it. We also don’t do much solar which produces peaks.

On the distribution front, hydrogen has all sorts of problems due to the difficulty of storage - explosive, higher pressure - all of that.

Are we really going to develop a hydrogen production and distribution system in NZ based on a $1M investment. What is the edge this project has over all the failing hydrogen initiatives overseas?

If we want to transform our energy environment we would be better pushing more hydro, particularly pumped hydro and create some incentives for solar. That way, when the electric cars come we have the capacity to manage that.

Yup, I concur.

Obtaining hydrogen from electrolysis is EROEI negative. Given that it's energy you want, a negative energy exercise is a waste of time.

The question is whether these folk know this and are milking the system The supplementary question is why is Megan Woods so ill-informed? An Energhy Minister who doesn't know about Energy Return on Energy Invested? Spare me, we're in trouble. Mind you, the last lot were worse.

It was Shane Jones that authorised this wasn’t it?

There is a price of power (very low) where it’s going to be worthwhile but that would only be relevant when all the hydro lakes were at capacity. Even then you’d use it like a battery rather than for transport.

Does anyone know if any sites have been identified as suitable for pumped hydro?

Hardly - no, it's not a matter of price, it's a matter of physics. When a thing returns less energy than you put in to getting it, there is no price at which the exercise is worth doing.

Pumped hydro isn't very efficient, but it's good for ironing out the peaks, and you can argue that as a battery it's better than most of the other options. It works best using off-peak nuclear, good wind events and presumably sunny days. I'd do it myself if I coudn't get batteries - using wind to pump up and a micro hydro on the way down - not very efficient but the wind is free....

That is why it is about price. If you get 40% of the energy out that you put in then you want the energy that goes in to be cheap and the energy that comes out to be expensive. As we get more solar we are going to get more cheap power when then sun is shining so we’ll need more ways of storing that power and shifting it to the evenings when everyone gets home and turns on their heaters and charges their electric cars. Pumped hydro is a good way of achieving that (terrain willing), Tesla has some good batteries, and you could make hydrogen but I think hydrogen is going to be the least efficient of those options.

It can't work like that as an overall system - because energy is needed to do the work to repay the debt that is money. So energy underwrites money - and never will negative EROEI energy underwrite enough money (which after all, is the expectation that you can swap it for something real) to allow anything to be bought expensively.

But in absolute energy terms, using more to make less is a no-goes. The analogy is a wolf chasing a rabbit. The longer the chase, the less calories left in the rabbit and the more the wolf has used up. At some point the EROEI of the chase turns negative - the return is less than the investment. The wolf dies. There can be a thousand rabbits to chase, but if the wolf doesn't get more efficient, he's a goner. Applies to all species - all need energy, none are 100% efficient, the loss is always low-grade heat.....

And if we use a barrel and a half of oil, to raise the next barrel out of the ground, we're dead too.

But setting up inefficient but energy-positive systems 9albeit of lesser EROEIt than fossil oil or coal) using existing ff, is valid. Much more so than Kiwisaver, I'd suggest.

It can't work like that as an overall system - because energy is needed to do the work to repay the debt that is money. So energy underwrites money - and never will negative EROEI energy underwrite enough money (which after all, is the expectation that you can swap it for something real) to allow anything to be bought expensively.

But in absolute energy terms, using more to make less is a no-goes. The analogy is a wolf chasing a rabbit. The longer the chase, the less calories left in the rabbit and the more the wolf has used up. At some point the EROEI of the chase turns negative - the return is less than the investment. The wolf dies. There can be a thousand rabbits to chase, but if the wolf doesn't get more efficient, he's a goner. Applies to all species - all need energy, none are 100% efficient, the loss is always low-grade heat.....

And if we use a barrel and a half of oil, to raise the next barrel out of the ground, we're dead too.

But setting up inefficient but energy-positive systems 9albeit of lesser EROEIt than fossil oil or coal) using existing ff, is valid. Much more so than Kiwisaver, I'd suggest.

How about the existing pipe from Huntly to the Auckland water storage lakes in the Hunua's ?

Megan Woods is a history PhD, with experience as a business manager for crop and food research at Lincoln. She isn't trained in science, but she should have a competent staff to advise her.

Would suggest doing some research on what HyTech are doing in North America with the likes of UPS etc, using hydrogen as a additive to extend range and reduce maintenance costs. (They have already completed a round of (independent?) testing that seems to show very good results.) Although it may not be an end point solution, there appears to be real potential for hydrogen as a step towards true zero emission transportation.

Hydrogen is probably useful in long term as a fuel for airlines and shipping. It is also relatively cheap to store long-term on a $ per Kwh basis - beaten only by hydro-dams, so perhaps useful for summer-winter renewables energy storage (though ground thermal storage is probably better). Storing it in liquid form wastes about 1/3rd of energy content. Compression is also very expensive in energy terms. It's high energy density (3x kerosene) enables global range supersonic flight. London in less than 6 hours, if energy is cheap enough.

It is only economic/sensible if generated directly via one of a number of possible chemical cycles using high temperature nuclear heat (quite competitive with electricity then), or from isolated non-grid connectable electricity - eg floating wind turbines in southern ocean, or pv uneconomically distant from grid - which might actually be the 'killer app' for hydrogen.

But otherwise it makes a truly shitty battery, with only ~30-40% round-trip energy input to output efficiency and a lot of danger to boot. It is too dangerous for cars, might be ok for trucks and off-road heavy vehicles. And much hyped but expensive (often platinum coated) fuel cells deteriorate over a few years use, they do not have the longevity of internal combustion engines or turbines.

I would STRENUOUSLY disagree with your conclusions as to H2 usage for supersonic flight. One of the most annoying items for supersonic flight is the drag penalty for volume. Unfortunately, hydrogen has one of the worst kW/m3 of any fuel. I've worked on hydrogen powered aircraft designs... the best possible utility is HALE, and the H2 powered designs are still paper as hydrocarbon fuels have far less challenges. The additional challenges of volume constraints for supersonic flight results in a VERY slim chance of success. As to commercial airliners being powered by hydrogen, the design ends up looking a bit like a super guppy, with similar performance. The first time one of those has a prang at the end of a runway, it will make the Hindenburg (BTW, also a hydrogen aircraft) oopsie at Lakehurst look like a minor incident.

That doesn't matter . A recent McFie/Listener article fell for the chimera of electric planes - imagine the restriction of having to land with a full fuel weight still!. One wonders how that one slipped past.......

I've also designed more than a few electric aircraft. There is a niche for them, mostly in the small UAV category. As for transport aircraft... NFW. At least until there is a paradigm shift with an order of magnitude increase in the battery energy density. Ground vehicles have far fewer penalties in terms of "fuel" energy density, so there are possibilities for battery powered cars. But, it is still a large challenge to make one economically, not to mention improving on total carbon emissions as compared to an ICE powered vehicle. On the electric car front, anyone want to guess as to where Tesla will be at this time next year??? I'm guessing that it will be bought at bankruptcy by one of the large manufacturers, and that they will continue the loss-making production so as to get the tax credits and incentives that will allow the continued sales of their profitable ICE vehicles. As a standalone business without tax incentives and credits, Tesla has a negative net worth...

$11.5 billion, yes billion, bet on Telsa going down;

Meanwhile, doubt runs rampant on Wall Street, with Tesla remaining one of the most shorted stocks in the United States. Short interest — or bets that the company's stock price will decline — sit at over $11.5 billion, according to data from financial analysts from S3 partners.

It's like we are living in a Dali painting.

Just like Iridium, someone had to go on in front. I don't think I'd like Musk personally, but we will end up running renewable energy by default - and prepared is better than blindsided.

But electric cars are the first thing first-worlders think about - presumably because they don't think their lifestyle is optional. Actually, the problem is needing to become sustainable in many ways, rapidly. Electric cars may or may not fit that scenario. They're still a resource drain, and so far nobody has manufactured then using renewables - though Tesla was closer than anyone.

And you have to remember there is a lot of fossil-fuel-related money around, looking to keep it's value up - and knocking down the opposition is one way to stay up.

electric golf carts would be a better model

Its certainly a breakpoint for tesla.. they either get Model3 rolling off that production line at pace, and with positive margin, or they fail. I hope they do manage to pull it off..but i wouldn't bet on it.

My bet is Tesla is going to be fine. If you want to save my comment and come back and mock me in a year go ahead but I think you’ll be disappointed.

The rumours that they are short of money are just rumours. They hit the 5k target just like Musk said and now he is guiding 6k this quarter.

The truck has heaps of orders and the roadster V2 will kill it in the luxury market - what will people pay for those specs?

But worst case scenario, if they were in trouble, there are a lot of buyers that would swoop them up. You underestimate their advantage over the whole industry. Every other company is years behind.

I would rather that you were right, but the data suggests differently.

The production numbers met were production to "factory gate". In others words, they were not delivered vehicles... but instead put on a paddock. This strongly suggests that there were some missing bits, checks, or processes. The few that have received the 3, there are many complaints online.

As to the cash burn rate, no rumors necessary. Just review annual reports and the 10k to understand how the cash flow rate will come to a head by the end of this year.

The concept of building cars in a tent is somewhat of a challenge as cleanliness is much harder to achieve.

Keep in mind they were controlling the deliveries to manage the timing of exceeding the 200,000 sales limit on the subsidies in the US.

How far away is battery development to overcome the weight penalty? Given that a plane burning fuel is constantly reducing it's weight.

Nobody knows, that's not any number of incremental changes away, that's a significant breakthrough or several away.

I think Tesla survives 1-2 years. They have >1 years orders in hand with 400k+ deposits, and are estimated to be making up to $10k per car, so short term is fine cash flow wise, but their share price will slowly drop as everyone realises they will get destroyed by competition from big car companies as they bring better equipped and much cheaper EV models over next 2-3 years.

I was wondering about that. I use hydrogen all the time and the cylinders are HEAVY. The weight of containment would surely be prohibitive for long haul flights. Direct conversion of methane to electricity looks amazing, ie the Bloom company, but you've got the same problem with gas storage. Probably the only solution is lithium batteries but then you have to carry your oxidising agent in the battery which adds weight. Its probably all fantasy, Malthus will be proved right.

For aircraft really need to liquefy hydrogen, as otherwise tanks are too big and too heavy, but it's horribly inefficient, costs about 1/3rd of energy contained.

The volumetric density of hydrogen is a challenge. Even with LH2, the density in the tank is really low. Think of it as medium density styrofoam. I recall that while working on the single stage to oblivion (SSTO was the actual acronym, the cute phrase preceding was just what some of the humorous folk on the project relabeled it) that the foam being used for the composite panel stiffeners was only a little lower density than the tank contents. 70kg/m3, or for you old imperial types, 4 lb/ft3 is the density for LH2. For a rocket, one doesn't have to have too much concern about insulation, but for an aircraft that has any endurance, the tank insulation is a big deal. One also has to pay a lot of attention to thermal expansion/contraction, as well as thermal dependent structural properties. It turns out that materials can behave rather differently at cryogenic temperatures. One doesn't just make a tank and fill it with LH2, lots of things to be concerned with...

The way to use LH2, with about 25% of kerosene's volumetric energy density, is to make much bigger aircraft, and fly higher (HALE as you say), eg. Check out Reaction engines A2 Lapcat proposal:

I am somewhat ignorant in terms of hydrogen long term storage for hydrogen. How does one cheaply store hydrogen in the long term? If I am not pressurizing or liquefying it, I need about 3000 L of storage in order to store the energy equivalent of a liter of kerosene. With the attendant issues of that pesky small H2 molecule that is so good at going through things, how does one store a large volume of hydrogen cheaply?

Can only be done as a liquid. Enormous liquid hydrogen dewar:

The bigger the better to reduce refrigeration losses

So the large scale storage schema assumes a 1/3 loss in the energy to put the hydrogen into storage... that is a bit on the painful side. You are right, this is similar to pumping water back into a dam in terms of energy storage efficiency.

Oh no, it's waaaay worse than pumped storage. Pumped storage can be about 80% round trip efficient, Electricity=>Hydrogen=>Liquefied=>combined cycle power station electricity is optimistically 0.8*0.7*0.6=35% round trip efficiency. But you can do it anywhere on earth.

You are correct. I was just comparing the energy required to go to LH2 to the hydro pump instead of the full cycle. The 80% is a rather good value though, hard to get that IRL.

I am a bit sorry to have to comment here but in all the time I have been around this site I have never seen so much sheer waffle.
Starting with the hydrogen fuel situation there is no doubt that the hydrogen and oxygen (air) to water is the best energy concentrated reaction on a weight basis together with its totally non polluting output (water)
Then the potential for hydrogen through a fuel cell is a natural power to use those same motors on a vehicle as batteries already provide. Hence potentially an on board range extender.
Going on to Hiringa they seem to be moving toward both electrolysis which is inefficient both great for converting wind or solar (intermittent sources) to base load providers. Then there is the Hazer process (I have a significant holding -for me- in this company) They can produce hydrogen and graphite including graphene and its derivatives in local reactors at site of need as well as for direct smelting to steel, without a pig iron intermediary. The technology is 19th century derived but the sophistication comes from their control of the process. Graphite from their process will command a very high price by its purity for use in batteries.
I know that Hiringa is very interested in using Hazer (the name derives from Hydrogen and Zero Emission Resources) so we hope they proceed.
I believe that Ceres Power and others can convert various organic gases and liquids directly to electricity but Hazer is building pilot and production plants right at the source of methane in Australia with massive financial support from Mineral Resources which wants the graphite mainly due to its purity.
Enough said for now
Good luck Hiringa.

A comment on the Government decision to curtail any further licences for offshore exploration. The ignorance of the environmental lobby stops useful natural gas availability which is a product with a much lower carbon footprint than any other carbon mineral extract. It should be regarded as a transitional product as a substitute to allow an earlier cut to coal as a fuel than with nil new gas available.

I do agree, natural gas should be regarded as a transitional product. Thing is, I understood there are already a substantial number of blocks with existing exploration permits out there, so it isn't as if the recent move means there will be no more prospect of finds. What perhaps they should do to give those existing permit holders more confidence is provide some reassurance that if there are new finds, there will be a new and easier path to gaining consent to extract.

We did the NG thing already already. Remember all those boots you couldn't get luggage into?

And there's the infrastructure problem - ramping up the existing gas infrastructure then morphing to something else (almost certainly something producing electricity) is a waste of time we don't have any longer.

Let's dump Tiwai and go for electric local transport - fleets of hireable electric bikes, cars, light rail......

And how are you going to replace the billion in annual export earnings that NZ gets from Tiwai? We are having to sell about $5billion a year worth of NZ into overseas ownership to support our current trade and investment imbalance, and it's worsening due to high oil prices. How long do you think we can sustain that?

Export earnings?

Actually, bauxite gets shipped in - used to be from Wiepa in my day - and smelted aluminium gets shipped out. The only reason the edifice is here is that we offered cheap power - indeed we built Manapouri for it. Socialising the debt even then.

All we have to do is stop importing what is largely consumable crap, to fix our 'balance of payments'.

After countless hours getting battered driving from Cairns up to Weipa it was a blessed relief to hit the bauxite sealed roads just on the outskirts of town there. And if anybody doubts the difference commercial fishing makes to inshore fisheries, the year I went was about 15 years after they'd shut down commercial fishing and WOW!

Yes, I do remember those boots :-)!

Brother of mine, a geological engineer, was living here in NZ at the time. He was very impressed with the innovation - thought we were world leading and that everything might go that way in the future.

I think the shine came off the conversions when oil/petrol prices dropped?

One last thing as to why Hiringa are keen on Hazer

Download the presentation and see how the process fits in to the markets for both hydrogen and graphite