AWARDS FINALIST: HWR Hydrogen – Dual-fuel trucks

25 Jun 2024

The HW Richardson Group is revolutionising New Zealand's heavy transport sector through its innovative hydrogen initiative. 

The company’s dual-fuel programme, integrating hydrogen with existing diesel engines, significantly reduces carbon emissions while protecting the value of existing assets, and provides a pathway for the heavy transport industry to transition towards cleaner energy without the risk of stranded assets.

HWR Hydrogen is focusing on both the supply of, and the demand for, hydrogen. 

By developing production facilities and converting trucks to dual-fuel systems, the hydrogen company – established in late 2021 – is providing a practical and low-risk way to decarbonise. The dual-fuel technology allows trucks to run on both diesel and hydrogen, ensuring flexibility and reliability even when hydrogen is not readily available, and preserving the value of the existing diesel engines.

It also bridges the gap until 100 per cent hydrogen heavy vehicles become widely available in New Zealand – something HWR expects could take 10-15 years.


Starting as a livery and stables business in the late 1800s, HWR is now one of New Zealand's largest privately-owned transport companies, operating a fleet of more than 1300 vehicles and serving six major sectors across New Zealand and Australia.

Its ownership of Allied Petroleum, an established refuelling and distribution network, provides a solid foundation from which to scale up hydrogen infrastructure, supporting the widespread adoption of the technology. Its diverse range of businesses using heavy vehicles provides a built-in customer base keen to reduce their carbon footprint.

Significant milestones during the past 18 months include successfully retrofitting and certifying the first five dual-fuel trucks in Australasia.

The environmental impact of HWR's dual-fuel trucks is substantial. The trial vehicles achieved a 26 per cent reduction in fuel needs when loaded and 34 per cent when unloaded. Tailpipe NOx emissions decreased 40 per cent, and AdBlue usage dropped 20 per cent.

Environmental benefits 

The company is acutely aware of the carbon emissions it and its customers generate. 

One dual-fuel truck running an average of 384 kilometres a day can eliminate 200 kilograms of carbon emissions a day, or 70 tonnes a year. Transitioning complete fleets would eliminate millions of kilograms of carbon emissions annually.

New Zealand's ability to generate hydrogen from abundant renewable electricity sources gives it a unique advantage, enhancing its sustainability credentials and attracting interest from international partners. The programme positions the country as a leader in sustainable transport solutions.

Data captured also opens avenues for comprehensive reporting of both scope 1 and scope 3 emissions. That facilitates informed decision-making and may lead to opportunities in carbon trading thanks to the measurable reduction in emissions.

Positive outcomes

HWR's dual-fuel programme delivers positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes. 

The retrofit to dual-fuel on an existing asset is a fifth of the cost of an equivalent electric vehicle and one-seventh the cost of an equivalent fuel cell vehicle. Refuelling is fast – around seven minutes – and there is minimal, if any, payload impact.

The programme has required extensive collaboration with overseas suppliers, and the development of training programmes for mechanics and hydrogen specialists. It has also fostered valuable partnerships, ensuring a robust support system for future operations. 

By investing in its workforce and infrastructure, HWR is building a foundation for future progress and demonstrating a strong commitment to environmental stewardship.

The Social Procurement Award category is sponsored by the BlueFloat Energy and Elemental Group partnership.