Special economic zone (SEZ) Freeport Saldanha and development agency the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Agency for International Cooperation or GIZ) recently hosted a two-day event on green hydrogen as part of the GIZ's H2.SA programme to promote a green hydrogen economy in South Africa.
The event focused on green hydrogen and electricity-based fuels and feedstocks, also known as Power-to-X (PtX), and included a demonstration of hydrogen production, as well as a networking event to explain the potential impact of the green hydrogen revolution on the region.
The Municipality of Saldanha Bay plays an important role in attracting investment and is a key stakeholder in terms of ease of doing business in Freeport Saldanha. The training workshop, therefore, helped to increase the knowledge of municipal officials on the topic and highlighted the potential impact of developments in the municipal area.
During the workshop, nine recommendations from a GIZ H2.SA policy review report were summarised by GIZ independent consultant Frederico Villatico, who highlighted that compliance with evolving regional regulations, codes and standards, such as the guarantee of origin, was a priority for South Africa to access export markets.
Further, Freeport Saldanha CEO Kaashifah Beukes said South Africa's Green Hydrogen Strategy was pivotal and set Freeport Saldanha on a new trajectory. Key factors for Saldanha Bay were that it was an SEZ with a significant deep-water port and rail hub, an existing industrial base in the steel mill and heavy-duty road haulage demand, and the availability of a skilled workforce.
“Saldanha Bay has existing customers to serve with this new net-zero product and Freeport Saldanha can be a catalyst. The availability of low-cost, clean renewable energy is a critical factor in making green hydrogen economically viable. A key factor that makes Saldanha Bay an ideal location for green hydrogen is its vast renewable energy potential.
“The region benefits from strong and consistent winds, making it a prime location for wind power generation, and abundant solar resources. Saldanha Bay can power large-scale electrolysis plants to produce green hydrogen by harnessing these renewable resources.”
Additionally, private companies would play an essential role by investing in and operating various elements of the supply chain and developing new technologies to improve efficiency and reduce costs, she said.
“Developing a green hydrogen industry in Saldanha Bay can create new employment opportunities in the construction and operation of electrolysis plants and supporting industries, such as maintenance, logistics and infrastructure development. A green hydrogen cluster can also attract investment from local and foreign companies, foster innovation and create a thriving ecosystem of related industries.
“And, as global demand for clean energy continues to grow, countries seeking to reduce their carbon emissions will be eager to import green hydrogen. Saldanha Bay's location can provide easy access to key markets in Europe, Asia and beyond, giving it a competitive advantage.
“By leveraging these advantages and fostering stakeholder collaboration, Saldanha Bay can contribute to the global transition to clean and sustainable energy while reaping the economic and environmental benefits for the local community and the country," Beukes said.