Sasol,Gauteng and Northern Cape sign groundbreaking memoranda on green hydrogen.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Chemicals and energy giant Sasol has announced a first-of-its-kind memorandum of agreement with the Northern Cape government to conduct a two-year feasibility study for a landmark green hydrogen project in the province’s Boegoebaai.
Another memorandum of agreement has also been signed with the Gauteng provincial government.
The announcement was made by Sasol’s Vice President for Energy Business Priscillah Mabelane, at the second annual Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa (SIDSSA) on Wednesday.
According to Mabelane, the project in the Northern Cape could potentially produce at least 400 kilo tons of hydrogen every year.
The project underpins the province's Green Hydrogen strategy - a precursor to the country's Green Hydrogen strategy.
"A project of this magnitude has the potential to create up to 6000 direct jobs – generating much needed socio-economic benefits including creating further indirect jobs across the ecosystem. We are very excited to be leading this feasibility study as part of unlocking South Africa’s ambition to a global green hydrogen export player," she said.
With countries moving towards lowering carbon emissions, hydrogen – which only emits water vapour when used – is considered to be the fuel of the future but large scale use of hydrogen was hampered because of the need to burn fossil fuels when extracting it.
Now countries such as South Africa, which have great potential and access to renewable energy resources, are able to produce clean hydrogen without the need to burn any fuel which can potentially place them as leading players in a green hydrogen economy.
This, Mabelane said, gives South Africa immense potential to benefit from the green economy.
"South Africa’s total green hydrogen potential could reach four to seven million tons by 2050 with over three million tons of export opportunity. This catalyses the roll out of more than 50GW of renewable energy for South Africa, contributing more than R100 billion per annum to our economy and creating more than 370 000 jobs to 2050."
Mabelane added that as part of Sasol’s approach to "developing a hydrogen economy”, the company has established several partnerships – including signing a memorandum of agreement with the Gauteng government.
"We signed a memorandum with the Gauteng provincial government to leverage special economic zones. These have been earmarked as enablers to unlock South Africa’s green hydrogen market potential for domestic use such as mobility, revitalisation of the steel industry and sustainable aviation fuel, particularly at OR Tambo [International Airport]," she said.
Head of Infrastructure and Investment in the Presidency, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, said the memoranda of agreement are an indication of South Africa’s commitment to lowering the country’s carbon emissions.
"Green hydrogen is the 21st century oil and it’s going to contribute in the agenda of the country as led by [Environment, Forestry and Fisheries] Minister Barbara Creecy of making sure that we meet our obligations with regard to our nationally determined contribution, the net zero [carbon emissions] path that we have articulated and it should constitute part of the totality of submission when we go to [the United Nations Climate Change conference]," he said.