Johannesburg – South Africa Northwestern University (NWU) is investing around Rs 35 million in strategic funding to advance green hydrogen research over the next 5 years.
This comes after NWU’s South African Hydrogen Infrastructure Competence Center (HySA CoC) partnered with Japanese partners on a five-year international green hydrogen and green ammonia program to address challenges. knowledge of developing countries in providing practical research. on the sustainability issues faced.
An initial R14 million has been allocated for green hydrogen research through the electrolysis of water and green ammonia in 2022 and 2023, with a further R21 million earmarked for 2024-2026. Green hydrogen is electricity produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using clean, renewable energy.
NWU Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Jeffrey Mphahlele said in a press release for Mining Equipment Weekly and Technical News.
Hydrogen technology is of particular interest to South Africa because most of the platinum group metals needed for hydrogen-related technologies such as water electrolysis and fuel cells are mined in South Africa.
In addition, South Africa provides an excellent source of renewable energy and green hydrogen production by electrolysis is also one of the cornerstones of the activities mentioned in the South African Hydrogen Association Roadmap.
NWU, with a major focus on renewable energy green hydrogen production and advanced water electrolysis, is working with the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS), two key agencies. Government of Japan – Japan Science and Technology Agency and Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The South African partner in the SATREPS Green Ammonia and Hydrogen Project is Numazu College, National Institute of Technology, Japan, for technical cooperation on green ammonia, knowledge sharing and student exchange.
South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation, through NWU’s HySA CoC, is a co-sponsor of the SATREPS project.
Chemical and energy company , the leader in hydrogen production in South Africa, will also contribute their technical expertise. this week announced the signing of a long-term contract to supply 69 MW of renewable energy to its burg plant in the Free State, the first of several pending agreements aimed at securing energy. required to produce green hydrogen.
“The main focus of the research is on developing advanced high-performance water electrolysis technologies and related components, such as battery packs and catalyst coating membranes – CCM – to be produced locally, integrated with Haber-Bosch’s advanced low-pressure green ammonia reactor,” said NWU. Professor Liezl Van Dyk, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, explains.
Facilitating the new partnership was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations, which began its first meeting last November.
The Memorandum of Understanding provides guidelines for research activities undertaken to support South Africa’s efforts to develop capacity and expertise, with a focus on electrolysis and green ammonia development.
It is increasingly recognized that converting electrical energy into storable chemicals and fuels is an integral part of the green transition from fossil energy systems to sustainable energy systems.
“International partnerships are one of the keys to success in the highly competitive field of hydrogen technology,” said Professor Dmitri Bessarabov of NWU’s HySA CoC and CSIR in the same statement.
“When hydrogen is produced, it has to be used on-site or transported to the point of use, because ammonia, a chemical derivative of hydrogen, is the best choice for transporting large amounts of hydrogen,” Bessarabov adds. .”
Internationally, hydrogen is considered not only an industrial gas, with an annual production of about 85-90 million tons, but also a catalyst for decarbonization and energy storage.
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande said the transition to green hydrogen could be a very beneficial practice in the near future through collaboration between companies, countries and institutions knowledge function. Speaking Center at the Just Energy Transition event, Stephen Quest, British High Commissioner Anthony Phillipson and representatives of neighboring African countries.
“If we really work together, we can accelerate the energy transition and make a green hydrogen economy a reality in the near future,” Nzimande said in Green Hydrogen Economy.