The Future of Gas BBQ’s

A great Kiwi summer always includes sausages on the BBQ!  Most New Zealand backyards are equipped with a gas BBQ ready for those summer weeknight meals or bigger dinner parties. It’s quick, you have instant heat, and it tastes like summer.

Looking towards a future of renewable energy, including gas, we are pleased that those Kiwi traditions aren’t going away anytime soon, but the gas we use will likely change with the times. 

Why is gas changing? 

As part of the government’s commitment for NZ to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the previous Labour government were working on a gas transition plan to set a future pathway for gas energy including reducing natural gas use and enabling low-emission gas options to decarbonise New Zealand’s energy supply. Natural gas will continue to be delivered to connected consumers until we’ve fully moved to new low and zero-carbon gases (likely by 2050).

The Gas Hub, along with our parent business Powerco, envision that future gases such as renewable hydrogen gas, biogas and bioLPG will start being introduced or blended with existing gases in the next three to five years. That means Kiwi gas users can be confident the gas they turn on isn’t being turned off any time soon and that renewable gas options will become available.

What will BBQ gas bottles look like in the future? 

Most BBQs are fuelled by LPG bottles that you easily pick up from your local service station or hardware store. LPG has a lower carbon footprint than petrol or diesel, but to help further decrease New Zealand’s carbon emission, renewable gases including renewable LPG are being investigated for Aotearoa.  These include: 

  • Renewable LPG (rLPG): rLPG is created from renewable and waste materials. The materials (or ‘feedstocks’) are put through a series of sophisticated treatments to purify their energy content. The final result is chemically the same as the LPG we currently use. rLPG can also be transported and stored in the same ways and used for the same types of equipment - like your BBQ! Ultimately this will make the transition from LPG to rLPG seamless. 
  • BioLPG: BioLPG is produced from bio materials such as plant and vegetable scraps. (The kids might enjoy seeing how this kind of process works and do our biogas experiment at home.) It is also identical in use and performance to conventional LPG and reduces C02 emissions by up to 80 per cent. As a member of GasNZ, Powerco (The Gas Hub’s parent business) is helping support studies into renewable gases like BioLPG.

With alternative LPG options being explored, the humble Kiwi BBQ won’t be going anywhere, it may just be adapting and changing with the times. For more information about all types of renewable gas energy head to the Future Sure website.

Hydrogen BBQ’s gaining in popularity

In 2018, Australian company Heatlie successfully designed, developed and manufactured a hydrogen BBQ. This marks the beginning of a safer, cleaner, more renewable way to BBQ through the summer seasons. The hydrogen BBQ looks like a traditional one, cooks like one and is friendlier to the environment - a positive step for the future of barbecuing!

Comparing the traditional LPG BBQ with their newly created Hydrogen BBQ, the Heatlie team were able to see some points of difference; including much lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Statistically, hydrogen emits 0.41% of the greenhouse gases LPG does. The Heatlie team noted that if you ran your hydrogen BBQ non-stop for an entire year, you would emit as many greenhouse gases as you would in a day and a half using your LPG BBQ.
  • The Heatlie team found it capable of producing the same heat as your traditional LPG BBQ but using less gas, making it a more environmentally friendly option. Hydrogen consumes half the amount of fuel per hour compared to LPG but produces double the heat. 
For more information on Heatlie hydrogren BBQs visit their website.

So, what does the future hold for the humble Kiwi BBQ?

We’re aware now that the classic Kiwi BBQ isn’t going anywhere. It’s not in danger of dying out, it’s just changing with the times. While hydrogen BBQs aren’t currently available for residential use in New Zealand, we are working towards a renewable gas BBQ future.

As part of our commitment to renewables, in 2023 The Gas Hub partnered with Visa Wellington on a Plate and renowned Wellington chef Shepherd Elliott, to showcase our hydrogen gas BBQ with the Food of the Future event. If you are curious to see what cooking on a hydrogen gas BBQ looks like, watch it in action below.

At The Gas Hub and Powerco we are committed to helping to reduce carbon emissions on our gas network and to achieve this we are investigating renewable gas. The good news is, this should mean you can keep enjoying gas for cooking that classic Kiwi BBQ or heating your home and hot water as you do today.

Want to learn more about renewable gas? Visit the future of gas.

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