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Three green hydrogen hubs proposed for South Africa

Three green hydrogen hubs proposed for South Africa

Plans for three catalytic green hydrogen hubs in Johannesburg, Mogalakwena and Durban have been unveiled as part of a collaborative feasibility study which looks for South Africa to seize the green hydrogen opportunity.

Completed and presented by Anglo American Platinum, Bambili Energy and Engie, the study altogether identifies nine hydrogen-related projects across the mobility, industrial and construction sectors.

Through the implementation of both the hydrogen hubs and the nine projects, the consortium hope to reduce South Africa’s dependence of fossil fuels and boost a clean energies economy, given the success of similar hydrogen hubs in other countries across the globe.

Already, the group thinks demand is going to be high, with the study estimating the hubs could reach 185,000kg of hydrogen capacity by 2030. Also focusing on price, the study projects a levelised cost of hydrogen to be ~$4/kg.

The initiative is part of the work being done to support the implementation of the National Hydrogen Society Roadmap, which was recently approved by Cabinet, as well as phase three of the country’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

Commenting on the study launch, Natascha Viljoen, CEO of Anglo American’s PGMs business, said, “The opportunity to create new engines of economic activity through hydrogen has been validated through this feasibility study with our partners. As a leading producer of PGMs, we have for some years been working towards establishing the right ecosystem to successfully develop, scale up and deploy hydrogen-fuelled solutions.

“These include investing in innovative ventures and enabling technologies, as well as forging wide-ranging collaborations across industry, to fully harness the transformative potential of green hydrogen for our economy in South Africa.”

Zanele Mavuso Mbatha, CEO of Bambili Energy, added, “We are pleased to be working with Anglo American Platinum, Engie and the South African Government in developing the hydrogen valley programme for the country.

“We believe that the project will bring significant public awareness around renewable energy solutions and contribute significantly to the national and provincial objectives for new investment, new jobs, renewable energy sources, and new export markets. It further complements our goal to beneficiate the country’s PGMs through our manufacturing of hydrogen fuel cell systems.”

When conducting the study, Anglo American Platinum, Bambili Energy and Engie said they met with over 20 stakeholders to gauge their interest for being involved in the hydrogen hub developments. Through doing this, they concluded that the interest is high, with multiple well-established businesses showing willingness to be quantitative or qualitative contributors.

Further to that, they also held a workshop that was attended by over 60 players to collect inputs and build momentum for the hubs. Export opportunities, green steel, refuelling stations and business pricing models were all highlighted as key takeaway points here, with the likes of Sasol, Volkswagen and ArcelorMittal participating.

Michèle Azalbert, Managing Director of Green Hydrogen at Engie, concluded, “The study we are presenting today with our partners identifies potential projects that could constitute the South African Hydrogen Valley and kick-start the country’s hydrogen economy.

“This essential first step supporting the South African Hydrogen Society Roadmap makes the green hydrogen development concrete. At Engie, we believe that working together on tangible projects and joining forces private-public will help to get at scale, making this solution commercially viable quickly.”

Inside the African Hydrogen Partnership (AHP)

Establishing hydrogen economies and organisations in Africa will provide tremendous social, economic and environmental benefits, all at the same time.

This is the message from the African Hydrogen Partnership (AHP), a multi-stakeholder association that in 2019 unveiled an ambitious vision to transform Africa from a vast continent in need of products, infrastructure, energy and mobility, to a region at the forefront of clean technologies with a thriving hydrogen value chain.

AHP connects industry, financial institutions, governmental organisations (such as government ministries, universities and state research centres) and large end-consumers who need to decarbonise and/or are interested in using hydrogen technology. AHP is the so-called ‘market maker’ for hydrogen and related technologies, bringing together demand and supply. Think of the shipping industry moving towards carbon neutral fuels which need to become available in the large African ports. The same applies to hydrogen-powered drones or vehicles; the fuel must become available and, at the same time, sufficient initial demand will justify a cost-effective hydrogen supply.

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