Power lines with Sasol’s Secunda complex in the background
JSE-listed Sasol and the State-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) have signed a memorandum of cooperation to jointly advance South Africa’s green-hydrogen economy.
In a joint statement, the two companies said the memorandum recognised that South Africa was in a unique position to leverage its world-class renewable resources and Sasol’s Fischer-Tropsch technology and skills to position the country as a global hydrogen leader.
Earlier this year, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel announced that he had mandated the IDC to lead government’s efforts to commercialise green hydrogen, which is produced using an electrolyser, powered by renewable energy, to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Patel also reported that Toyota’s Johan van Zyl would head a panel on green hydrogen, which would focus primarily on what was required for South Africa to unlock a large-scale domestic hydrogen industry. It is understood that the panel will meet for the first time this week.
In addition, Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler announced in June that the energy and chemicals group was positioned to be able to produce green hydrogen within the next two years.
A consortium comprising Sasol, Linde, ENERTRAG and Navitas is bidding to develop a sustainable aviation fuel demonstration plant under the auspices of the German government’s H2Global auction platform, while Sasol is also partnering with Toyota to jointly pursue the development of a proof-of-concept demonstration for a green hydrogen mobility ecosystem in South Africa.
Sasol energy business executive VP Priscillah Mabelane said the group’s ambition was to lead and co-create South Africa’s hydrogen ecosystems through strategic partnerships and by leveraging its proprietary technology and integrated value chain.
IDC COO Joanne Bate, meanwhile, described the development of the hydrogen industry as a key enabler in South Africa’s just transition to a decarbonised future.
“Hydrogen has the potential to decarbonise various industrial sectors. IDC intends on getting involved in the development of those catalytic projects needed to develop this new industry,” Bate said.
The memorandum between Sasol and the IDC coincides with the release, on July 2, of a request for information (RFI) on potential green hydrogen project opportunities in South Africa.
The RFI has been issued by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Meridian Economics on behalf of German development bank KfW, which has set aside up to €200-million in concessional financing on behalf of the German government for the initiative.
KfW has set an indicative target date of end-2023 for the disbursement of funds, which will be channelled through a South African public institution, possibly a development finance institution.