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Anglo American to champion growth of SA’s ‘hydrogen valley’

Anglo American to champion growth of SA’s ‘hydrogen valley’

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South Africa is trying to unlock its nascent hydrogen economic system with authorities envisioning the event of an expansive ‘hydrogen valley’ stretching from Limpopo to Gauteng and right down to KwaZulu-Natal – a plan that’s being backed by mining large Anglo American.

Talking on the conglomerate’s unveiling of its first hydrogen-powered nuGen Zero Emissions Haulage Options (ZEHS) truck on the Mogalakwena mine in Limpopo on Friday, Anglo American Platinum CEO Natascha Viljoen stated the group is championing the plan.

Learn: World’s biggest hydrogen trucks start work at Anglo American

“Hydrogen has a big and wide-ranging position to play in attaining a low carbon future – notably as an vitality service enabling the event of a renewables-based energy technology system … We’re notably excited concerning the potential of nuGen, amongst different alternatives, as we work to champion the event of South Africa’s hydrogen valley,” she added.

“South Africa is one among solely 4 international locations that may generate extra renewable vitality than what we want for ourselves. This implies we will turn into an efficient exporter of vitality which can create a complete new economic system.”

In October 2021, the Division of Science and Innovation (DSI) along with the South African Nationwide Growth Institute (Sanedi) revealed a feasibility report for the proposed hydrogen valley, noting that the ‘valley’ would span roughly 835km from Mogalakwena in Limpopo, alongside the commercial and industrial hall in Johannesburg and result in the south of Durban.

Billions for the economic system, and jobs

The examine notes that the proposed valley has the potential so as to add between R65 billion and R146 billion to the nation’s GDP via direct and oblique contributions.

It estimates that between 14 000 and 30 000 jobs per 12 months could be created by 2050 by kickstarting South Africa’s hydrogen economic system. The report additionally predicts that the demand for hydrogen inside the valley alone (together with the hub cities and provinces alongside the route) might attain as much as 185kt by 2030.

Talking on the Anglo American hydrogen truck launch, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated the hydrogen valley would place South Africa as a “world centre for inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing”.

“It is going to result in the creation of latest industries, support the decarbonisation of sectors like transportation, manufacturing and building, and create new jobs for our folks in all these provinces,” he added.

The hydrogen valley proposal follows the president’s 2021 State of the Nation Deal with wherein he cited hydrogen gas cells as an integral various vitality supply of nationwide precedence.

Ramaphosa additionally established the Presidential Coordinating Fee (PCC) on Local weather Change to facilitate a local weather resilient economic system and support the transition to a low-carbon economic system.

Director-Normal on the DSI Dr Phil Mjwara believes the hydrogen valley is a vital nationwide initiative that may support the nation’s post-Covid Financial Reconstruction and Restoration Plan and additional advocate for a sustainable, resilient and inclusive economic system.

“The institution of a South African hydrogen valley is subsequently seen as a chance that has nice potential to unlock development, revitalise the commercial sector, and place South Africa to be an exporter of cost-effective inexperienced hydrogen to the world. Hydrogen, subsequently, stays an integral a part of our Financial Reconstruction and Restoration Plan,” he stated.

Hydrogen plant and mine haul truck

Anglo American’s Mogalakwena mine is the primary mine in SA to efficiently launch a hydrogen plant and hydrogen-powered mine haul truck.

The nuGen hydrogen-powered vans are anticipated to interchange 40 diesel haul vans on the Mogalakwena mine and can supersede the mining firm’s fleet of round 400 vans by 2040.

Based on Julian Soles, Anglo American head of expertise growth, mining and sustainability, the transfer will probably be equal to eradicating 500 000 diesel automobiles off the street. This transition is anticipated to “take type” in 2026.

Soles says though the truck is totally useful, just a few commissioning procedures stay excellent which hinder it from performing on a industrial scale simply but.

Ramaphosa described the nuGen mission as a beneficial driver of financial development and employment which can contribute to the nation’s decarbonisation efforts. “It takes us from conceptualisation to actuality.”

The development of the corporate’s nuGen ZEHS mission, which formally began in 2019 in partnership with inventive engineering and expertise corporations ENGIE, First Mode, Ballard and NPROXX, is an extension of the corporate’s eight-year FutureSmartMining programme which helps the mine’s carbon-neutrality dedication focused throughout all operations by 2040.

Tony O’Neill, Anglo American’s technical director, stated the programme creates potentialities for sustainable mining by prioritising expertise and digitalisation.

“It was more durable to design this for a haul truck than a practice. This can be a actual gamechanger,” stated O’Neill.

Impressed by its diesel predecessor, the nuGen truck is presently the world’s lightest 510-ton truck and is the primary to run on hydrogen with its 220 ton dimension and cargo capability of 290 tons.

The truck’s solely emission is water vapour. As soon as the mannequin replaces all diesel haul vans, it’s anticipated to cut back on-site diesel emissions by 80%.

The truck features on an on-site zero-emissions manufacturing plant which features a storage and refuelling advanced utilizing the most important alkaline electrolyser in Africa of three.5MW which generates 99.97% pure hydrogen. The plant additionally features a photo voltaic photovoltaic (PV) area that helps the operation of the haul truck. It’s nominal onsite storage capability is 800kg for hydrogen.

Noting the elevated implementation of load shedding by Eskom, Minister of Mineral Assets and Power Gwede Mantashe tasked Anglo American with embedding renewable electrical energy technology onto the nationwide grid and never just for its haul vans.

This follows the utility’s announcement of its zero-emissions goal by 2050.

Anglo American introduced its partnership with world renewable vitality chief EDF Renewables to develop a regional renewable vitality ecosystem (RREE) firstly of the 12 months.

“This ecosystem will probably be designed to satisfy all our operational electrical energy necessities in South Africa via renewables by 2030, whereas supporting the resilience of the native electrical energy provide programs and the broader decarbonisation of vitality within the nation,” the group stated.

Viljoen famous that the Mogalakwena mine’s PV plant, which continues to be being accomplished, will generate 100MW of renewable vitality and in the end have capability to generate as much as 320MW.

Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.

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