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South Africa | Green Hydrogen

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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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  • Jun 28, 2022

South Africa | Green Hydrogen 


South Africa is well placed to play a pivotal role in the energy transition and there are many projects being considered to make this happen.

South Africa’s hydrogen ambitions are driven partly by its decarbonization goals, and partly by a desire to support economic growth and exports.

Hydrogen is seen as an opportunity to revamp the country’s industrial sector and achieve its emissions reduction goals by 2050 while reducing socioeconomic inequality.

The country’s vision is guided by its Hydrogen Society Roadmap (HSRM) released last February, which sets clear targets to reach by 2050.

South Africa aims to deploy 10 gigawatts (GW) of electrolysis capacity in Northern Cape by 2030 and produce about 500 kilotons of hydrogen annually by 2030.

This growth is forecasted to create 20,000 jobs annually by 2030 and 30,000 by 2040.

Indeed, we heard of the scale of ambition from UNIDO as far back as 2020:

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South Africa wants to become a major producer and exporter of green hydrogen, capturing a 4 percent global market share by 2050.

Her hydrogen strategy reflects several priorities: a desire to decarbonize its economy, an effort to create economic growth, an aim for pursuing a just transition away from coal, and a way to fully exploit critical mineral resources.

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The country has assets relevant for hydrogen: expertise in the Fischer-Tropsch process, abundant renewable energy resources, and major production capacity of platinum group metals (PGM), a key input for hydrogen applications

PGMs, in particular, offer an opportunity to develop a globally relevant industry, capturing local value added from a resource that is now exported as a raw material.

A cornerstone of the government’s hydrogen strategy is a “Platinum Valley,” an industrial cluster to combine various applications into integrated hydrogen ecosystem.


The potential for Ammonia

Ammonia projects are underway and Schalk Venter, CEO of Afrox, recently remarked, “Southern Africa is one of a few regions around the world with very favourable conditions for green hydrogen and ammonia production and export. We are excited to be working on this transformative project in Nelson Mandela Bay with Hive Hydrogen South Africa to deliver the project’s full envisaged capacity producing 780,000 tons of Ammonia annually for export to world markets. Through our parent company’s engineering division, proven global expertise and technology, we’ll support this project’s feasibility, engineering design and development phases”.


Enter Offshore Wind:

Significantly, the country is favourable positioned for a big ramp up of fixed and floating offshore wind with a recent study revealing that South Africa has an annual offshore wind energy production potential of 44.52 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity if wind turbines were to be installed in shallow waters (depths of less than 50m) and 2 387.08TWh with wind turbines in deeper waters (depths less than 1 000m).

Offshore Wind, fixed and floating off the South African coast:

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The South African energy transition is already underway and demonstrable as we can see below the physical scale of the hydrogen ambition!

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Looking forwards to moderating and speaking at this Johannesburg event 28 and 29 September with sectoral leaders.  Join a community of the willing: Hydrogen for Africa


Charley Rattan


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