New Zealand’s 1st EV Milk Truck, New Zealand’s Low Emissions Transport Fund, DryScreen–Creating Human-Centered Comfort in Buildings

by | Aug 9, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

New Zealand’s 1st 100% electric milk truck (In 100 Years)! New Zealand’s Low Emissions Transport Fund, and DryScreen–creating human-centered comfort in buildings in the era of climate change.



According to the New Zealand government, “The transport sector currently produces 47% of New Zealand’s CO2 emissions, and between 1990 and 2018, domestic transport emissions increased by 90%. With transportation decarbonization playing a key role in New Zealand’s progress towards that nation’s 2050 goals, the Government has decided to double down on its investment into reducing transport emissions with the Low Emission Transport Fund (LETF).

This fund builds on the now complete Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund (LEVCF), with an increase in size and scope. EECA will continue to administer the fund on behalf of the Government. 

The LETF will support the demonstration of high potential and replicable solutions, and adoption of low emission transport technology, innovation and infrastructure to help accelerate the decarbonisation of the New Zealand transport sector. The fund will stimulate the uptake of low emission solutions, while providing additional knowledge and learnings for further replication to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport. Early action can start to accelerate wider deployment for demonstrated and critical low emission pathway solutions at a supported commercial scale.

The fund will focus on activities in the transport sector that move people and/or goods on roads, off-road, and in the marine and aviation sectors to:

  • demonstrate innovative solutions that will enable future adoption and deployment
  • reduce energy related emissions in the transport sector
  • address market and organisational barriers through co-investment and diffusion of new knowledge and learnings, and
  • share knowledge and learnings to stimulate wider replication of successful projects and solutions in the transport sector.

Wider transport systems and activities (such as building roads, urban design, mode shift policy) are excluded.

To best deliver the outcomes of the LETF, the Fund is divided into a portfolio of investment activities which will be released to the market as individual funding rounds for co-funding in each area within the scope of the fund. An announcement will be made in advance of each new activity.

Up to $5 million is available in the 2022-23 financial year for vehicles and technology projects.




A hundred years ago, New Zealand had electric-powered milk tanker trucks. In fact the town of Morrinsville, in New Zealand’s Waikato region on its North Island had the largest e-fleet in the country. And now it’s the site of Milk-E, the Kiwi nation’s first EV milk tanker in the 21st century.  It’s been officially launched by the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods, IN Morrinsville.

Local Government, Iwi, Industry and Fonterra employees were also present to recognize the launch. According to the New Zealand Herald, The tanker is part of Fonterra’s fleet decarbonization work and one of a number of programs helping the co-op towards its sustainability goals. It’s also a  milestone in the decarbonization of New Zealand’s heavy transport, while also recognizing the team behind the build.

Fonterra received co-funding from the Government’s Low Emissions Transport Fund , which is administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

Fonterra chief operating officer, Fraser Wineeray Whineray said, “Being a New Zealand first, there’s been a lot of creative thinking and Kiwi ingenuity to bring Milk-E to life.” Milk-E was named by Fonterra farmer Stephen Todd from Murchison after the co-op held a “Name the E-tanker” competition which it described as “fierce but friendly”.

An NDA battery swap system is being installed at the Waitoa site to see how this could work within a fleet to minimize downtime from battery charging, and reduce the amount of work required to customize a Fonterra tanker. EECA group manager of investment and engagement, Nicki Sutherland, said, “New Zealand has ambitious targets to rapidly reduce carbon emissions, and transport is key, but heavy freight has proven hard to decarbonize.

Why does the Kiwi Milk-E matter to us? The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority spokesperson said, “If successful, this project could be replicated across a number of New Zealand businesses.” But we say, if successful, it makes a great template!




Harvard’s Climate Change Solutions Fund (CCSF) recently awarded $1.3M to ten projects for impact at both the local and global level, seeking to reduce the risks of climate change, hasten the transition to renewable energy, diminish the impact of existing fossil fuels on the climate, understand and prepare for the effects of climate change, and propel innovations needed to accelerate progress toward a healthier, more sustainable future.

The team of Joanna Aizenberg, Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS); Jonathan Grinham, Assistant Professor of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities created a project around increasing comfort in buildings in the CC era.

This project seeks to reduce the energy consumption and the use of harmful refrigerants in air conditioning by using a technology that decouples air cooling from humidity reduction — two functions performed simultaneously by conventional air conditioners in buildings.

Why does this matter to us? Doing so can lead to significant energy savings by separately tuning dehumidification and cooling to reflect ambient conditions. The new technology — Dryscreen — is a water-selective membrane vacuum system that has been designed and fabricated with support from the U.S. Department of Energy. Funding through the CCSF will enable the on-campus field testing of the Dryscreen prototype, using the Center for Green Buildings and Cities’ HouseZero LiveLab.

DEEPER DIVE: Harvard Gazette, HouseZero LiveLab, Dryscreen