The Decarbonisation Discussion – what are the latest industry trends?

Split Enz was wrong. History sometimes repeats.

What are we seeing in the global trend towards decarbonisation and how is Entec at the forefront of these industry changes?

It’s funny how history sometimes repeats. This month, we'd like to outline some of the new technologies and market sectors we’re working with. And there is a touch of déjà vu in this story.

When Entec started business in 1982, the New Zealand energy and industrial scene was dominated by the “Think Big” projects, motivated by multiple factors which included a desire to reduce our national dependence on imported oil. The advent of CNG & LPG as alternative transport fuels was also upon us, as a direct result of the oil price shocks of the 1970’s.

Here in 2023, much of the work Entec is involved in across NZ’s energy and industrial scene is motivated by a desire to reduce carbon emissions, including a couple of key projects which are – like in the good old days of CNG and LPG – rolling out alternative transport fuels.

We’re thrilled at this state of affairs. Our business has grown strongly, partly due to increasing our market share (that’s satisfying!), and more significantly due to building relationships in different regions and market sectors (and that’s really satisfying!).

The broad theme for most of our project customers is “decarbonisation”. Getting the carbon out of our businesses is a big challenge, and for some applications it’s a much bigger challenge than others.

Starting with the 2020’s version of the CNG/LPG era, we’re very proud to be involved in rolling out fast EV chargers for light vehicles and green hydrogen filling stations for heavy vehicles. Both types of project are using new and exciting technology. The high standards required for quality workmanship, supported by excellent quality assurance systems, and for site safety, while operating in hazardous area environments… all of this fits perfectly in Entec’s wheelhouse.

You only have to drive anywhere in New Zealand to appreciate the rapid uptake of electric vehicles. It doesn’t feel like a long time since it was a novelty to spot a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla, now these cars are everywhere. We look forward to seeing hydrogen-fuelled trucks also progressing from novelty to commonplace in time.

Oh, and because decarbonisation also starts at home… we have our first three battery EV passenger cars joining the Entec fleet later this month, to complement the handful of PHEV’s we’ve had for a few years. Most of our fleet are vans and utes with high daily mileages, so the EV solution isn’t quite there yet. In a nice twist of fate, a recent business development tour of the South Island by 4 of us was 100% electrically driven, thanks to a nice upgrade from Avis and the recent purchase of a Tesla by our local BD guru. Walking the walk!

Away from transport, with electricity being the fuel solution for much of the decarbonisation conversions underway and into the future, there needs to be a lot more electricity generated and distributed. We are currently building prefabricated plant rooms to house the switchgear at two large industrial-scale solar projects, and playing a part in the construction of the new Tauhara geothermal power station in Taupo.

Reducing the carbon emissions in process heat is acknowledged to be a big challenge. We recently visited three dairy factories that are currently converting to either biomass or electricity, from coal or LPG, as the primary boiler fuel. We’re proud to have played a part in one of those projects, and certainly keen to get involved in others.

So, to close the loop on history repeating itself; in the early 1980’s our country was thinking big and responding to international oil prices. Here in the early 2020’s, we’re responding to climate change and – mostly – our country is thinking smart. It’s an exciting time.

If you’d like to have a more specific conversation with us about your next project, talk to us today and we can begin the collaborative process of designing a solution for you.