South Africa is taking a significant step towards a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future with the collaboration of major companies – Sasol, BMW, and Anglo American – in harnessing the power of green hydrogen for transportation.
Green hydrogen, produced through a process where water is split into oxygen and hydrogen using renewable energy sources like wind and solar, is being recognized as a promising low-carbon energy carrier compared to fossil fuels. It is of particular interest to industries that face challenges in reducing emissions, such as steel, cement manufacturing, and various modes of transport, including aviation.
The anticipated memorandum of cooperation between these three corporate giants will be signed at South Africa’s second Green Hydrogen Summit, showcasing a commitment to environmentally responsible energy sources. Sasol, one of the key players, will serve as the supplier of green hydrogen to Anglo American and BMW, focusing on transforming commercial and passenger fleets towards sustainability.
As companies worldwide seek innovative methods to reduce emissions, driven in part by the European Union’s plans to implement a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which imposes taxes on imports based on their carbon content, green hydrogen holds significant promise.
Moreover, the Green Hydrogen Summit will witness the Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape provinces joining forces to develop an inter-regional green hydrogen strategy. This strategy will encompass shared logistics, infrastructure, and manufacturing facilities, reflecting a holistic approach towards a greener future. South Africa’s Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgoa, underlines the importance of this collaboration, emphasizing that green hydrogen’s potential transcends administrative and political borders.
The memorandum of understanding builds upon a previous agreement between the Western Cape and Northern Cape, and there are aspirations for collaboration with Namibia to create a regional green hydrogen corridor spanning both countries.
Ramokgoa also provided insights into the status of the Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy, highlighting that it is in its final approval stages, soon to be presented to Cabinet. The strategy aims to create markets for green hydrogen, with a focus on sectors like heavy industries and transportation.
South Africa’s coastal regions, with their abundant renewable energy resources like wind, solar, and desalinated seawater, offer an ideal environment for the cost-effective production of green hydrogen. Existing infrastructure, such as ports and renewable energy installations, can be leveraged to accelerate the transition.
However, Ramokgoa acknowledged the current cost challenges associated with green hydrogen, indicating that it might not feature in the updated Integrated Resources Plan. This is primarily due to the technology’s current maturity level and associated costs. Nonetheless, he remains optimistic about the future inclusion of green hydrogen in South Africa’s energy mix, provided that issues related to cost are resolved.
As green hydrogen projects advance from pre-feasibility stages towards financial close, the country is poised to play a pivotal role in pioneering the adoption of this environmentally-friendly energy source. The collaboration between Sasol, BMW, and Anglo American demonstrates the commitment of the private sector to a greener, more sustainable South Africa.