You know the just energy transition South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is always talking about? It’s going to cost an estimated one and a half trillion Rand to get started.
Of course the bulk of that money will be spent on overhauling the electricity sector, but it is an ENERGY transition, which means changing how we do all fuels that power our economy.
One of those fuels is Hydrogen.
One out of every five rands spent on the Just Energy Transition will be put towards kickstarting the Green Hydrogen economy.
What is Green Hydrogen? Well, it’s hydrogen extracted using energy from renewable sources.
You know what has a lot of hydrogen in it? Water.
Yes, we’ll be zapping H2O with electricity from solar or wind to split it into hydrogen and oxygen.
Do you know which part of South Africa has a lot of sun, but is constantly plagued by water shortages? The Northern Cape.
Of course, that would be the logical place to establish a green hydrogen plant… RIGHT?
To be specific, the plant will be established just outside Vanrhynsdorp, a town you may have heard of in recent weeks because the residents were protesting after going six days without water.
Poor maintenance and loadshedding knocked out the main pump that sends water up from Vredendal.
This green hydrogen commercial manufacturing plant will have electricity supplied by Keren Energy, and use electrolysis tech developed at the South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry which is based at the University of the Western Cape
Doctor Stanford Chidziva is the acting director for the green hydrogen programme at the institute and he is understandably excited. Bottom line is that the real winners in the green hydrogen economy are the big industries that can use it to decarbonise operations, and not necessarily the residents of Vanrhynsdorp who now need share water rations with a hydrogen plant.
Oh, and there’s another El Nino coming that will drive droughts in the region too.
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