Public works and infrastructure on the Prieska power reserve project

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Today, together with the Prime Minister of the Northern Cape, Zamani Saul, the Head of Infrastructure in South Africa, Professor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, the directors of the Prieska Power Reserve and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), visited the Prieska Power Reserve Green Hydrogden project, a revolutionary project for South Africa in the field of green hydrogen.

This first green hydrogen and ammonia project was founded and developed by a company led by black African women, Mahlako a Phahla, in partnership with the Central Energy Corporation (CENEC) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

Prieska’s power reserve, valued at R9.7 billion, is a catalyst project within the South African hydrogen ecosystem and will not only contribute to the development of the industry, but also to economic recovery. and the growth of our country.

South Africa has been exploring the potential of the hydrogen (H2) economy since 2007 through H2 South Africa (HYSA) led by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).

This work has mainly focused on the application of green hydrogen in green mobility, with emphasis on green hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as an alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles.

This was supported by the platinum group metals sector, as about a third of platinum sales are used in the production of catalytic converters for internal combustion engine vehicles.

Over the past two years, there has been a proliferation of net zero commitments by nations and companies. This has renewed attention on the need to decarbonise traditionally “hard to cut” sectors such as: heavy transport; aviation; maritime; and heavy industries like steel, cement and ammonia manufacturing.

These hard-to-reduce sectors cannot be decarbonized through renewables and electrification or through renewables and battery storage. Green hydrogen offers the best long-term opportunity to decarbonize hard-to-reduce sectors because its use is emission-free. Green H2 is also a catalyst for just energy transition and empowerment.

South Africa has a number of strategic advantages that could make it a globally competitive green hydrogen production area. These benefits include the following:

  • A superior endowment of renewable energy, both onshore wind and solar.
  • Renewable energy is the most important cost item in the production of green hydrogen.
  • South Africa also holds the largest concentration of known reserves of platinum group metals. Platinum is a major component in the manufacture of fuel cells and polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyzers and 90% of known reserves are in South Africa and Zimbabwe;
  • The availability of large tracts of relatively cheap land for renewable energy generation;
  • A large electricity network for the delivery of renewable energies and a large national industrial base as a source of local demand.

Green H2 is still an emerging sector but with great potential. Over the past 12 months, Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) has worked with the provincial governments of Northern Cape and Gauteng to develop catalytic green H2 projects that will underpin provincial green H2 strategies, with the Northern Cape being the hub of production and Gauteng being the center of domestic demand. .
These projects and strategies, along with the Department of Science and Innovation’s H2 Society roadmap for South Africa, will form the foundation of a national green H2 strategy.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the South African Government.

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