Durban’s hydrogen economy get R4.6 million boost from the UK govt

EThekwini’s hydrogen economy strategy includes developing capacity for both blue and green hydrogen.

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Durban’s hydrogen economy is set to get a major boost following an announcement by the British High Commission on the allocation of more than £225 355 (R4.6 million) in grant funding to three highly strategic projects on hydrogen economy development in South Africa.

The funding will be implemented through the United Kingdom’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) under its UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK PACT) programme.

The three selected projects will work to support the implementation of the hydrogen economy, the uptake of oceans economy via offshore wind generation and the development of alternative clean fuels such as blue and green hydrogen, and the design of pathways to a just energy transition. This will involve working closely with business and civil society to ensure that this transition is equitable and leads to inclusive and sustainable livelihoods.

UK BEIS is currently supporting the development of a hydrogen valley project via the Department of Science and Innovation, working with the South African Institute of International Affairs on links between the hydrogen sector on TVETs and now supporting eThekwini’s regional hydrogen economy.

Durban’s blue and green hydrogen strategy

Manager for Renewable Energy within the Energy Office, Sbu Ntshalintshali said the City’s regional hydrogen will include the establishment of hubs, export supply chain infrastructure, hydrogen precinct, cities, and industrial agglomerations.

“Recent developments confirm that hydrogen will play an important role in the decarbonisation of the entire energy value chain. This highly strategic project is supported by the national government, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and state-owned enterprises,” said Ntshalintshali.

Unlike electricity, hydrogen can be transported and stored in large quantities over long periods. EThekwini says it will scale both blue and green hydrogen given the high concentration of industry in Durban. Blue hydrogen will also support carbon capture and utilisation storage projects integrated to fossil fuels. This will ultimately position Durban and KZN as a major producer and exporter of hydrogen and other associated e-fuels.

“As host of COP 26 and a long-standing development, trade and investment partner, I am delighted that we are launching this range of projects aimed at supporting green, resilient and inclusive economic growth in South Africa,” said British High Commissioner Nigel Casey.

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