South Africa Is Well Placed as a Worldwide Green Hydrogen Hub

South Africa Is Well Placed as a Worldwide Green Hydrogen Hub

As the world transitions into sustainable hydrogen energy, different countries are gearing up to take up the massive opportunities that exist. Some are looking to be producers while others are focusing on different hydrogen technologies. Undoubtedly, there are indications that, indeed, there exist great opportunities in the green H2 industry. Already, there are multimillion dollar projects and several private-public partnerships that are expected to hit $2.5 trillion by the year 2050.         

Now, with its massive platinum reserves, South Africa might soon be a green hydrogen hub. Platinum can withstand higher temperatures compared to other metals/catalysts, hence it is touted as the best for use in the green H2 fuel cell technology. More precisely, platinum is a key input in the generation of electric current required to split water to produce hydrogen. Notably, one thing that is already proving to be a challenge in the production of green H2 is the intensive energy requirement in the production process. So, the existence of metals such as platinum that can be used in hydrogen fuel cell technology is a plus.

To take advantage of its large platinum reserves, South Africa is coming up with plans to make maximum use of its massive potential. For instance, there is an already ongoing public-private partnership tasked with the work of finding feasible ways of transforming South Africa’s platinum belt into a “green H2 valley.” Three green H2 hubs have already been identified and marked for further exploration. These are Johannesburg hub that goes all the way to Rustenburg and Pretoria; Durban hub that extends to Richards Bay; the belt that cuts across North West provinces and Limpopo. Platinum is, however, not the only advantage that South Africans enjoy.

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Solar and wind energy can also be used to power the green H2 production process. South Africa has great potential too when it comes to both solar and wind power. It is actually among the best in the world and this places it in a good position to become the world’s green H2 hub. With the growing demand for green and sustainable energy sources such as the green H2, it’s just a matter of time before the real business kicks off. Both domestic and industrial demand is projected to grow tremendously over the next few years.

Elsewhere in the world, green H2 research and trials are ongoing on how to integrate green H2 into cars, aircraft, and other industrial sources. But that’s not all! By-products, including ammonia and methanol also have many other useful uses. All these plus other many potentials are some of the driving factors of the increasing demand for green H2 and its use as an alternative to carbon-emitting fossil fuel sources. While the world is not there yet and even the hydrogen produced worldwide is not yet approved as fully green, there are signs of hope. Hydrogen might, indeed, be the energy of the future!

Going forward, and with the market set to expand, South Africa joins other countries seeking to build a strong foundation as producers of green H2. It has already demonstrated to be the hub to watch in the production of brown and blue hydrogen. With the competition it faces from countries that have moved relatively fast to expand the green H2 sector such as Argentina, Chile, and Saudi Arabia, the stage is set for stiff competition. Those that will move quickly to exploit the many advantages that exist in the industry are likely to benefit as the world transitions into the use of green H2.

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