Study shows South African green hydrogen production holds considerable promise
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The country is well positioned to become a leader in the zero-carbon shipping fuel market.
According to research conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund and Ricardo for the P4G Getting to Zero Coalition Partnership, South African green hydrogen production is highly promising.
The nation holds substantial unused opportunity for supplying H2 to the global shipping industry.
Focusing on South African green hydrogen production and H2-derived renewable fuels that are being used worldwide for decarbonization could provide the country’s economy with a substantial kickstart. This would open South Africa to new export markets while supporting an equitable transition and adding appealing jobs in numbers.
The new research examined the environmental and economic potentials for implementing zero-carbon shipping fuels through the country’s shipping sector. This would occur at a time in which maritime transport is on the cusp of an energy transformation. By 2030, the shipping industry will have started making substantial moves toward the replacement of heavy bunker fuel with new greenhouse gas emission-free shipping fuels generated through the use of renewable energy. This will be critical to the global capacity to reach its decarbonization targets.
South African green hydrogen could help the country reach its 2050 net zero emissions commitment.
“Our study shows that South Africa has an abundance of renewable energy potential. It is enough to supply the country’s domestic electrical demand as well as the production of zero carbon fuels to supply commercial vessels refueling in its international ports. The adoption of zero carbon propulsion technologies at South Africa’s ports could attract investment of between 122 and 175 billion Rand in onshore infrastructure by 2030. All that is needed to unlock this investment is the right policy incentives set at the International Maritime Organization,” said Environmental Defense Fund director of international climate Aoife O’Leary.
“South Africa has the opportunity feed into the growing global demand for decarbonized materials, products and services by offering bunkering capability for zero carbon fuels to vessels of all types. With access to busy shipping routes, abundant renewable energy potential, and experience handling these and other fuels, South Africa is in a great position to produce the shipping fuels of the future, access a growing global market, and thus catalyze a new low carbon economy,” said Ricardo future energy specialist and project lead Olivia Carpenter-Lomax.
The new report indicates that South African green hydrogen production would be well suited in both its geographic location and economic development. It would strengthen the country’s shipping sector and create an export for international markets.