Demand for this fuel is rising significantly
President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the first Green Hydrogen Summit in Cape Town on Tuesday, 29 November, that it was time to move in a new direction, and hailed green hydrogen (GH2) as a game changer for economic development and energy security.
Green hydrogen is created when water is split into oxygen and hydrogen using wind or solar energy, and could be used as an alternative fuel to power up industrial processes.
Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, head of Infrastructure and Investment in the Presidency, said South Africa was regarded as one of the main future suppliers of green hydrogen products to the world due to the “outstanding potential of renewable energy sources and existing hydrogen production facilities”.
Kaashifah Beukes, CEO of the Freeport Saldanha Industrial Development Zone (also known as Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone or SBIDZ), said green hydrogen could be used as a lever for electricity availability and the strengthening of the grid as the country tackled critical energy challenges.
GH2 has been forecast to play a significant role not only in South Africa, but global transitions to netzero energy systems as well as decarbonisation in heavy industry, long haul freight, shipping and aviation.
Demand for GH2 products, including ammonia and synthetic jet fuels, is rising significantly as the world focuses on achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Ramaphosa delivered the keynote address at the summit, and said this presented a unique opportunity for South Africa to link its mineral endowment with its renewable energy endowment to drive industrialisation while creating jobs, attracting investment, bringing development to rural provinces and supporting a just transition from fossil fuels.
“It is estimated that South Africa has the potential to produce six to 13 million tons of green hydrogen and derivatives a year by 2050. To do so would require between 140 and 300 gigawatts of renewable energy,” Ramaphosa said.
Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille said there were already a number of green hydrogen projects under way in the country.
Ramokgopa said building a hydrogen economy could open up new export markets for South African companies as well as domestic use opportunities.
It could also lead to significant economic development, reindustrialisation and job creation opportunities that would ultimately support a just transition in the South African energy sector, as reported by Pretoria News, a partner of TV BRICS.Photo: Pretoria News