The 2nd edition Hydrogen Economy Discussion was held at the Country Club Johannesburg, Auckland Park on the 19th of July 2023 and brought together leading representatives from mining firms, investors, project developers, suppliers of hydrogen equipment, producers of fuel cells and electrolysers, industry groups, government representatives, independent experts and professionals seeking to explore the green hydrogen economy. The event was organized by Resources for Africa and sponsored by Anglo American, Minerals Council South Africa, DRA and Bureau Veritas.
The hydrogen economy discussion convened to discuss the global green hydrogen economy and the potential, opportunities and challenges it poses for South Africa. Due to the abundance of platinum group metals, a thriving mining industry, access to land and solar, high demand and investment opportunities, South Africa is well placed to benefit from the industrial transformation towards green hydrogen but requires the requisite infrastructure to assist the transition.
The green hydrogen economy also plays an important role in the bilateral energy partnership between South Africa and Germany and within the Just Energy Transition Partnership. This was recently illustrated by the signing of a joint declaration to intensify bilateral cooperation for green hydrogen between South Africa and Germany.
To highlight this bilateral partnership, Mr Enrico Brandt, German Deputy Ambassador to South Africa, delivered the keynote address for the Green Hydrogen Discussion, highlighting Germany’s contribution to the global hydrogen economy and German-South African cooperation. Mr Brandt informed the audience of the establishment of a joint task force between the South African and German governments to intensify bilateral exchange of information, support the establishment of lighthouse projects, facilitate market access and support trade as well as the promotion of a network between government, industry, and research in green hydrogen.
South Africa has great potential to become a leading producer of green steel, sustainable aviation fuel, electrolysers and fuel cell technology. On the latter, Germany, has one of the most competitive industries in Europe which has advanced its energy transition and is a leading green energy technology provider, recognized for its R&D capacities.
During the conference proceedings, Mr Markus Exenberger, Director of the H2Global Foundation presented on “H2Global” as a key funding instrument for a global market ramp up of green hydrogen. This double-auction system was initiated with EUR 900 million funding. H2Global acts as an intermediary to compensate for the initial difference between supply prices for production and transport and demand prices from consumers in the industry, transport, and energy sectors. This mechanism aims to promote timely and effective build-up of the PtX market on an industrial scale.