Major advance for clean energy research


Secure, clean, internationally competitive energy solutions will be the focus of CRL Energy under a new ownership deal signed last week.

The move makes the NIWA group of companies, including NIWA Science and CRL Energy, the largest energy research provider in New Zealand.

"We are delighted to become partners with the Coal Association in CRL Energy," says NIWA chief executive Dr Rick Pridmore. "CRL Energy’s focus on medium to long-term energy solutions, including biofuels, carbon capture and storage, coal gasification and the hydrogen economy, will complement and enhance NIWA’s current focus on environmental impacts and renewable resources, including wind, solar, hydro, and wave."

"Sustainable energy is one of the most critical issues challenging New Zealand’s future development and economic growth," says Dr Pridmore. "Government and industry are becoming aware of the need to invest in research on a range of resources and technologies, from renewables to clean coal to distributed electricity generation to efficiency throughout the energy chain. NIWA’s investment in CRL Energy will allow us to bring together some of the smartest New Zealand scientific and engineering minds to generate environmentally acceptable solutions spanning the entire energy sector."

Coal represents one of New Zealand’s most important energy resources. Coal and associated technologies will play an important part in the transition to new sources of electricity generation and transport fuels globally and in New Zealand. Reducing or eliminating the associated greenhouse gas emissions poses challenges, but technology will help provide solutions. CRL Energy was set up by the coal industry as an industry research association nearly 40 years ago. The Coal Association chairman, Chris Baker, says "This partnership between NIWA and the Coal Association reflects the industry’s commitment to research-driven solutions leading to zero emissions coal use and the continued development of alternative energy sources."

Mr Baker says that the new partnership will enhance the contribution CRL Energy can make to the New Zealand energy sector and that CRL Energy’s research into clean coal and carbon capture and storage technologies "will be a key contribution to the continued use of fossil fuels in New Zealand and overseas".


1. Agreed Vision for CRL Energy Ltd.

The following Agreed Vision forms part of the CRL Energy Shareholders Agreement and reflects a vision and expectation of NIWA and the Coal Association for the company.

"CRL Energy Ltd vision is to be an internationally respected research and consulting company dedicated to bringing world-class energy solutions to its customers and ensuring best use is made of New Zealand’s energy resources in meeting future energy demands.

"CRL Energy Ltd will seek to fulfil its vision by:

  • being recognised in New Zealand as the pre-eminent specialised energy research organisation;
  • commanding the central position in New Zealand (inc)’s energy research investment portfolio;
  • maintaining a strong international reputation;
  • focusing on secure, clean, internationally competitive energy solutions;
  • facilitating the demonstration, commercialisation, and early uptake of clean energy technologies identified for New Zealand;
  • promoting technologies that achieve major reductions in the emission of pollutants, including the removal/sequester of carbon dioxide;
  • assisting a smooth transition towards future key energy sources (e.g., hydrogen, biofuels);
  • being well connected to all companies/communities involved in the generation and supply of energy in New Zealand;
  • securing a diverse portfolio of clients and partnerships to broaden the company’s source of revenue, increase its awareness of new commercial opportunities and to minimise ownership risks; and
  • operating with financial efficiency to ensure that the company generates the cash flow needed to develop its business and provides an appropriate return on shareholders' funds (i.e., meets or exceeds it weighted average cost of capital)."

2. Carbon capture and storage involves collecting carbon dioxide from large point-sources and storing it in carefully selected deep geological reservoirs or the deep ocean. See, for example, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Special Report on Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage,

3. CRL Energy:

4. NIWA’s energy research:



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Archived on 29 April 2019