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Hydrogen report guiding the way for hydrogen integration across New Zealand

Hydrogen may be New Zealand’s fuel of the future. However, this relies on an appraisal and implementation of standards to ensure safety, interoperability and efficiency.

Artist's concept for hydrogen storage, fuel station and plane use.

Artist's concept for hydrogen storage, fuel station and plane use.

Standards New Zealand, on behalf of WorkSafe New Zealand - Energy Safety, has conducted a thorough review of technical standards governing the production, distribution, and utilisation of hydrogen. The outcome of this review and three years' work is the release of the hydrogen standards review report in May 2023. 

Hydrogen standards review report [PDF, 3.1 MB]

The report contains a standards development implementation strategy that lays out a multi-year prioritisation plan of standards adoptions (direct and modified – where appropriate) to enable the safe integration of hydrogen across New Zealand’s energy landscape.

From advice to action

The project now moves into its next phase, which involves considering the direct-adoption of fifteen international standards, as well as the modified-adoption of an additional eight others. The report also recommends progressive updates to twenty joint-standards (AS/NZS) and the revision of eight New Zealand-specific standards (NZS). 

This process is divided into three stages, aligned with the anticipated implementation of hydrogen infrastructure and activities across New Zealand.

The initial stage concentrates on centralised stationary production and storage of hydrogen – this includes the built facilities that will contain this potentially volatile fuel.

The second stage will focus on mobile applications of hydrogen, such as transportation and vehicle refuelling – some of which are already being trialed as concepts across New Zealand.

The third stage addresses large-scale decentralised distribution to ensure accessibility across the motu. The project’s completion is expected by mid-2025.

The report recommends the direct adoption of fifteen international standards, drawing upon good practice already developed by global experts, along with the modified adoption of an additional eight standards to tailor towards New Zealand’s distinct needs. Furthermore, it suggests progressive updates to twenty joint standards (AS/NZS) and the revision of eight New Zealand-specific standards (NZS).

Standards underpinning good practice

This project is closely linked to the regulatory efforts of the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) to establish appropriate regulations for hydrogen. Many health and safety, as well as energy safety, regulations explicitly reference standards when defining compliant activities and practices to ensure safety for all consumers and those working across the emerging industry.

Senior Standards Project Manager Chris Forsman, who has been working with WorkSafe – Energy Safety on this project, outlines the work in the video below.

Chris Forsman on standards for the hydrogen framework(external link)