SA pushes hydrogen technology for export and local industry


OVER 135 billion Namibian dollars is pledged for the development of the hydrogen gas program in South Africa, the sector with the potential to create 1.8 million jobs, a virtual gathering of the fifth hydrogen webinar announced yesterday. green for southern Africa.

The European Union and countries, including the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, want to help South Africa develop its hydrogen potential.

Ready markets for the gas were already in place in Japan, which required 300,000 tonnes, and in Germany, which required three million tonnes of hydrogen, both offering achievable rates for the offtake of the South African ports of Saldanha Bay. and Ngqura.

South Africa, with its natural resources, logistical strengths and research capabilities, would be well placed to stimulate the development of a hydrogen sector, to assist in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies. .

EU Ambassador to South Africa Riina Kionka said the EU and its member states have more than a passive commitment to help South Africa with the just transition agenda, and in fact have committed funds due to the growth and supply potential of global markets.

Speakers said hydrogen could be produced in the country at a lower cost using a large scale of up to 20 megawatts (MW) and renewable energy using wind and a mixture of other scientific elements.

“South African hydrogen can meet Japan’s cost target of $ 3 per kilogram by 2030,” the conference said.

South Africa, particularly in the ports of Saldanha Bay and Ngqura, was encouraged to join the Global Ports Coalition (GPC) to address global logistics challenges.

The most glaring challenges facing the development of the sector were political decisions in the country and regulatory obstacles outside the South African sphere, for example the transport of hydrogen was the subject of considerable debate. in its form, pure or in the form of ammonia or even methanol. Among the considerations in the EU for transport were tailpipe emissions and whether lawmakers would accept non-zero tailpipe emissions of methanol.

“The mechanisms for adjusting the EU’s carbon borders are currently being negotiated. The problem is that carbon-based fuel entering EU waters or airspace is subject to taxation, ”said Thomas Roos, senior research engineer at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Potential local hydrogen users included steelmaker ArcelorMittal, while options were being considered by Cape Town to use the hydrogen in its fleet of public transport buses.

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