South Africa

Country: South Africa

Document type: National Roadmap

Title: Hydrogen Society Roadmap for South Africa 2021

Released: February 2022

Summary Points:

The Hydrogen Society Roadmap is intended to serve as a national coordinating framework to facilitate the integration of hydrogen-related technologies in various sectors of the South African economy.

The roadmap includes six high level outcomes:

  • Decarbonisation of heavy-duty transport
  • Decarbonisation of energy-intensive industry (cement, steel, mining, refineries)
  • Enhanced and green power sector (main and micro-grids)
  • Centre of Excellence in Manufacturing for hydrogen products and fuel cell components
  • Creating an export market for South African green hydrogen; and
  • Increase the role of hydrogen in the South African energy system in line with the move towards a net-zero economy.

The roadmap identifies a total of 70 priority actions to be undertaken to support delivery of the roadmap.

Several of the priority actions to be pursued in the short term (2021-2024) include:

  • The alignment and integration of the roadmap with relevant national priorities and plans pertaining to energy, industry, and decarbonisation.
  • The support of catalytic projects that demonstrate commercial viability, with a focus on industrial clusters to support wider adoption.
  • The review of regulatory, fiscal and other policy measures to support the development of a hydrogen economy.
  • Identification of skills required for a hydrogen workforce, and developing a plan to build these skills.
  • Continuing the building of the research ecosystem to support innovation.
  • Mapping international financial programmes and partnerships instrumental in supporting the hydrogen economy.
  • Establishing realistic targets, and implementing a monitoring, evaluation and learning framework in order to support the successful implementation of the roadmap.

The roadmap identifies four ‘catalytic projects’ to help ‘kick-start’ hydrogen industry development:

  • The Platinum Valley Initiative (South African Hydrogen Valley) – focuses on creating a ‘hydrogen corridor’ linking mining activities in Limpopo, the industrial hub in Johannesburg, to the port of Durban, with the goal of facilitating the conversion of trucks from diesel to fuel cell trucks.
  • The CoalCO2 -X Project – focusses on using green hydrogen and captured pollutants from coal-fired boilers to produce products such as green ammonia, fertilizers, and synthetic acid.
  • The Boegoebaai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) – focusses on the creation of an industrial zone hosting, among other things, an electrolyser park, a green ammonia production plant, a desalination plant, a renewable energy and storage park, and an electrolyser Gigafactory.
  • The Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) project – focusses on provision of low-carbon alternative fuels to help decarbonize aviation.

On implementation, these flagship projects would be expected to produce approximately 500,000 tonnes of hydrogen per annum.

Over the course of 2021, federal and provincial government and industry stakeholders worked to progress a series of agreements to support development of ‘catalytic’ green hydrogen projects in South Africa:

  • A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the Northern Cape province and Sasol for Sasol to be the anchor developer of the planned Boegoebaai Green hydrogen SEZ
  • A MoA between the Northern Cape province and the Port of Rotterdam for the latter to act as a demand aggregator for green hydrogen into Europe; and
  • A MoA between Gauteng and Sasol for Sasol to develop green hydrogen production facilities in Gauteng aimed at decarbonising domestic industry.

In January 2002, it was announced that the South African and German Governments would collaborate on a project called ‘Promoting the development of a green hydrogen economy for South Africa (H2.SA)’ with the German Government providing €12.5 million in funding to support the project. The project aims to:

  • Support the development of a favourable strategic and regulatory framework for a green hydrogen economy in South Africa.
  • Coordinate the important contributions of different government departments and stakeholders for such a framework.
  • Enable relevant actors to build a green hydrogen export economy.
  • Enhance capacity and knowledge of South African stakeholders in the green hydrogen and Powerfuels sector; and
  • Mitigate potential implications of a green hydrogen and Powerfuels economy on the environment, society, and the economy.

In June 2023, the governments of the Netherlands, Denmark and South Africa concluded a Heads of Agreement with the intention to launch a new ‘SA-H2 Fund’. The SA-H2 fund would be a blended finance fund; Its focus would be to fast-track the mobilisation of funding towards the development and construction of large-scale green hydrogen infrastructure assets across South Africa. The SA-H2 Fund initiative would aim to secure US$1 billion in funding.

In October 2023, the South African Government News Agency noted that Cabinet has given the Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy (GHCS) the green light for implementation. The Agency quoted the Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, as noting that the Government had identified possible funding for green hydrogen projects and the draft Green Paper had received extensive feedback from stakeholders.


Uploaded: October 2023