In a powerful address at the European Hydrogen Week, South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology, Blade Nzimande, underscored the country’s commitment to leveraging hydrogen to combat climate change, drive economic development, and enhance energy security.
Contained in a statement issued by the Department of Science and Innovation, Minister Nzimande outlined South Africa’s ambitious emission reduction targets, emphasizing the potential of green hydrogen to cut domestic emissions by 10 to 15%.
He highlighted Sasol’s initiatives to replace grey hydrogen with green hydrogen for sustainable aviation fuels and other products, aligning with the nation’s long-term energy security goals.
South Africa embarked on its hydrogen journey in 2007, emphasizing a low-carbon economy fueled by platinum group metals. Minister Nzimande revealed that the hydrogen economy could contribute 3.6% to South Africa’s GDP by 2050, creating over 370,000 jobs.
Cabinet-approved Hydrogen Society Roadmap for South Africa, introduced in 2021, sets clear targets for decarbonizing transport sectors, energy-intensive industries, creating an export market for green hydrogen, and fostering a manufacturing sector for hydrogen products.
Minister Nzimande emphasized the importance of transitioning from grey to blue to green hydrogen.
The Platinum Valley Initiative, akin to a hydrogen valley, aims to catalyze hydrogen production, local manufacturing, and a just energy transition.
Nine catalytic projects, including the Platinum Valley Initiative, have been identified to support the development of net-zero industrial sectors based on green hydrogen and renewable energy.
Notably, progress has been made in a master plan for a green hydrogen special economic zone in the Northern Cape, targeting 10 gigawatts of electrolyser capacity and 500 kilotons of hydrogen annually by 2030.
On the global stage, South Africa assumed the Chair of the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE), aiming to promote hydrogen development across Africa, with a focus on gender equality and social inclusion.
Minister Nzimande stressed the importance of cooperation with international players and investors to unlock Africa’s green hydrogen potential. South Africa, with deep capital markets and exceptional renewable energy resources, is poised to be a key player in the global green hydrogen landscape.
The development of a green hydrogen economy is an integral part of South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, endorsed last year, with pledges of $8.5 billion in concessional funding.
Minister Nzimande invited engagement from international partners and stakeholders during European Hydrogen Week to propel hydrogen to the forefront of the global energy transition.
Source: South African Government.