Green Hydrogen - South Africa foresees massive exports to the EU

South Africa is planning to export green hydrogen on a large scale. President Ramaphosa said that to achieve this, a project called Boegoebaai is being developed in the Northern Cape province by energy company Sasol in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation.

Green hydrogen is a more attractive form of energy than grey or brown hydrogen, which are produced from natural gas and coal respectively. Hydrogen has many practical applications in industry and in the private sector. For example, it can be used to power buses, steel mills and possibly aircraft, or mixed with natural gas to heat homes.

Goals of the project

The project is also supported by the German government - the goal is to supply green hydrogen to the European Union, which wants to import 10 million tonnes annually by 2030, he said.

"The Boegoebaai project is an excellent opportunity for South Africa and Germany to work together on green hydrogen development, energy security, job creation, just transition and climate action. The long-standing cooperation between South Africa and Germany on climate issues will be further deepened through the Partnership for a Just Energy Transition between South Africa, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union, which was announced at COP26 late last year," Ramaphosa said.

He added that the development of the green hydrogen economy is a national economic priority for South Africa.

Green hydrogen in South Africa - potentials

The Boegobaai has the potential to produce up to 400 kilotonnes of hydrogen per year, which will require renewable energy to the tune of 9 gigawatts, or about 20 % of South Africa's current installed energy capacity. The project is also designated as a Strategic Integrated Project (SIP) in the South African National Development Plan (NDP).

Rising oil prices and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine have forced many countries around the world to seriously consider a faster transition away from fossil fuels.

South Africa has significant structural advantages for the production of green hydrogen for export purposes. These include the country's size and climate, which ensure that South Africa has high-quality renewable energy sources from solar and wind power, as well as some of the highest average load factors.

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