Looking to future pathways

Ground breaking research and development.  When it happens – it changes the lay of the land in ways we’d never imagine.  Take Edison and his electric light - an apparatus which would cause gas lighting to be a thing of the past, despite naysayers saying it wasn’t possible.  Oh how he proved them wrong.    

But that’s just it.  You have to be brave to create disruption – and no one knows this more than HERA, where one of our core focuses is to drive innovation for the future of our members in the metals industry.  Recently, our AGGAT team have been going through some interesting changes as we look to create a pathway for potential directions in our future research in geothermal and waste heat energy conversion.

Never before has there been a program of this magnitude and scale in above ground technologies in New Zealand, and the reality is if this should come to an end - there never will be again. 


From inception to delivery

The AGGAT program started with the simplest of quests - to drive research and development that would allow our members to stand out from the rest.  But as all brave inventors will attest, moving away from the already ‘done’ was absolutely necessary if we were to create a market we could competitively play in – leading us on a five year journey along the path least travelled to bring ingenuity to the ‘unknown’.

During this time our strong technical in-house capability in Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology has substantially grown, as too its development – as we work closely with project partners to capture the abundant yet largely ignored low temperature geothermal and waste heat resources available around us, into a viable renewable energy source.

Drawing from a common and shared research base, this collective has now built their first test rigs, and are moving to execute experimental plans later this year - but moving forward is certainly not the easiest challenge to overcome.  A support plan with the government to identify appropriate channels that can not only maintain the calibre of research but also convert it into a game-changing opportunity for New Zealand and its economy is much needed if this work is to continue.

Perception believed is reality achieved

To date, the drive and impetus for this program has solely laid with our researchers who champion mutual objectives focused on growing a national research platform out of disparate research streams and industry dreams.

Our team has proved itself to be disruptive and promising enough through our progress demonstrated in ORC aligned conceptual achievements now on the cusp of next phase development – and at HERA we believe it’s time to take this to the next level as we work to turn this stage into reality.

One of the ways we’re exploring to achieve this is in the form of a research institute that could harbour a number of capabilities both in technical skills and facilities to provide significant development opportunities in energy research – something currently lacking due to an uncoordinated approach and vision being executed.

A newly submitted regional research application in partnership with Rotorua’s Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust for a regional placement is a step towards supporting this, which if approved will allow geothermal energy research in New Zealand to enter a new era of disruptive developments that is desperately needed.

We’ve found the barrier often encountered in R&D is not the creation of opportunities or ideas, but the fear of taking the leap of faith to pursue them because of the high risk and cost associated with it. What we want to make clear is that there are opportunities out there that our members not only deserve to know about but also can leverage support from if they want to become part of an R&D journey.   

Want to know more?

Please contact our Industry Development Manager Dr. Boaz Habib on boaz.habib@hera.org.nz or via phone on +64 9 262 4753 if you’d like to know more about our AGGAT program and energy research.

If you see yourself as a visionary industry member looking for opportunity, you may also like to read our Director Wolfgang Scholz calls for interest in our Industry Research Partnership Program - click here.