‘Clean tech has to be so cheap that everyone adopts it’. Picture: 123RF/PETOVARGA
‘Clean tech has to be so cheap that everyone adopts it’. Picture: 123RF/PETOVARGA

SA’s “hydrogen economy” ambition has gathered momentum in recent years with hydrogen touted as the clean molecule the world needs to secure a sustainable energy future. Hydrogen is clean-burning, can be produced from renewable sources of power, and therefore has a promising role to play in the global effort to address the effects of climate change.

Platinum group metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater announced recently that it was assessing the generation of green hydrogen on its mine sites to power PGM-catalysed hydrogen fuel cell mobility. And a recent study conducted by the Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS), which focused on exploring the emerging export opportunities in the development of green hydrogen, found that SA is well-placed to build a new and sustainable export commodity in the form of green hydrogen.

But substantial demand-side and supply-side investment is required, supported by proactive government policy and forward-looking regulatory initiatives.

Michael Avery spoke to Prof Dmitri Bessarabov, director of the department of science and innovation national centre of competence: hydrogen infrastructure (HySA Infrastructure); Mandy Rambharos, head of Eskom’s just energy transition office; Matthew Burnell, partner in the environmental and regulatory Practise at White & Case; Dr Minnesh Bipath, head of the energy secretariat at the SA National Energy Development Institute; and Muhammed Patel, TIPS researcher and author of a recent study entitled “Green Hydrogen: A potential export commodity in a new global marketplace”.

Michael Avery talks to a panel about SA's hydrogen economy ambitions

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