Green hydrogen and ammonia exports to international markets will be key to viability of Eastern Cape region project (pic credit: Allan Baxter/The Image Bank via Getty Images)

A new feasibility study will explore the viability of developing green hydrogen production and export infrastructure in South Africa’s Eastern Cape region, for export to global markets including Europe and Japan.

A consortium led by Nelson Mandela University and Ikigai Group has won a UK government grant under the South Africa-UK PACT programme to deliver the feasibility study, working with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa.

The feasibility study will evaluate the potential for establishing green hydrogen production in the region and developing the necessary infrastructure for export, including port facilities and transport networks.

The consortium said exports were key to maximising the value that could be extracted from renewable energy resources in the Eastern Cape and surrounding provinces, and to diversifying revenue streams.

It said the sale of green hydrogen and green ammonia to international markets would be critical to ensure the bankability and the delivery of the overall project.

The consortium is supported by delivery partners including Hive Energy, the Nedbank Group, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and Advantage Partners. They will provide fund management services to the Japan Hydrogen Association’s new fund dedicated to hydrogen-related investments.

‘Missing link’

Helena Anderson, co-founder and chief operating officer of Ikigai, said that port infrastructure was the missing link in hydrogen becoming an international commodity.

The green hydrogen corridor project was focusing on a large-scale green hydrogen project in South Africa, comparing it with ammonia as a counterfactual carrier, and exploring how hydrogen can be delivered to places like Japan, Europe and the UK.

“The goal is to show that exporting hydrogen can also boost local demand,” Anderson said.

Catherine Koffman, group executive project preparation at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, said the partnership would help create a new asset class in the energy sector, addressing regional integration of sustainable green hydrogen projects and contributing to Africa’s prosperity.

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