Infrastructure South Africa summit focuses on green hydrogen

The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) will participate in the inaugural South Africa Green Hydrogen Summit at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town from 28 to 30 November 2022.  The summit showcases the country’s offering as a large-scale, low-cost, world-class green hydrogen production hub and total value chain investment destination.


Hosted by Infrastructure South Africa (ISA), the three-day summit aims to market South Africa as the investment destination for green hydrogen projects and facilitate information sharing on project case studies and hydrogen valleys.  Furthermore, the summit provides an ideal platform for South Africa to showcase its research, development and innovation capabilities through exhibitions by the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Centres of Competence and spinout companies operating in the renewable energy sector.


On 30 November, DSI Director-General, Dr Phil Mjwara, and Senior Science and Innovation Representative, Eudy Mabuza, will participate in two panel discussions: "Opportunities to Commercialise South Africa’s Green Hydrogen Research and Intellectual Property" and "Opportunities for Local Empowerment and the Skills and Workforce Required by a Green Hydrogen Economy".


The DSI’s journey with hydrogen started in 2007 with Cabinet’s approval of HySA, an initiative promoting the use of local platinum-group metal resources to create knowledge and skills and enabling the development of high-value commercial activities in hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies. 


Through HySA, the DSI has invested in hydrogen research and developed projects such as the country’s first prototype hydrogen fuel cell forklift and refuelling station at Impala Refineries in Springs; a renewable energy system at Poelano Secondary School in Ventersdorp; seven hydrogen fuel cell systems as the primary power source for
1 Military Hospital in Pretoria; and hydrogen-powered scooters to help deliver mail at the South African Post Office.


In 2021, President Ramaphosa announced plans to establish a Platinum Valley that will serve as an industrial cluster, bringing together various hydrogen applications in the country to form an integrated hydrogen ecosystem.  The Platinum Valley Initiative, which is South Africa’s version of a Hydrogen Valley, is expected to contribute to South Africa’s move towards a hydrogen economy and the implementation of the Hydrogen Society Roadmap (HSRM) for South Africa, which was published earlier this year.


The HSRM envisions an inclusive, sustainable and competitive hydrogen economy by 2050 with the goal of achieving a just and inclusive net zero carbon economic growth for societal wellbeing by 2050.  Some of the key outcomes of the HRSM are the creation of an export market for green hydrogen and green ammonia and the creation of a manufacturing sector for hydrogen products and components.


In July 2022, Dr Mjwara led a high-level, South Africa/UK hydrogen mission to Teesside, UK, to establish strategic partnerships that will promote the manufacturing of locally developed intellectually property across South Africa's Platinum Valley Corridor and export of green hydrogen and green ammonia to UK markets.  Dr Mjwara was supported by the triple-helix stakeholders of academia, Airports Company of South Africa, Limpopo Economic Development Agency, Gauteng Department of Economic Development, and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal.


Last week, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Dr Blade Nzimande also led a South African delegation to Teesside, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state visit to the UK.  Minister Nzimande’s visit was part of work looking at the regional development opportunities that can flow from the hydrogen economy.  The work underway in the Tees Valley to build a Hydrogen Hub has strong parallels with South Africa’s own plans to build a South African hydrogen valley.  


This week’s Green Hydrogen Summit officially kicks off on 28 November with welcoming addresses from Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Ms Patricia de Lille.  The keynote address will be delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa.


Issued by the Department of Science and Innovation


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