Department of Science and Innovation
The first draft of the Hydrogen Society Roadmap was completed at the end of November 2020.
The higher education, science and innovation minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, confirmed this in an address at the recent webinar on renewable Hydrogen and Green Powerfuel opportunities for South Africa.
The minister added that the project team is working on ensuring that the issue of Gender Equity and Social Inclusion is included in the process.
“It is our considered view that this process should form a major part of the contribution of our sector to the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan targeting hydrogen and the fuel cell sector”, he said.
The lack of an overarching policy on a South African hydrogen economy is perceived to be a threat to the successful implementation of the Hydrogen South Africa programme given that the uptake of commercial products into the domestic market is critical.
The minister pointed out that the Hydrogen Roadmap aims to “set out a vision for an inclusive hydrogen society so that an enabling compact between industry, labour, community and government can be developed”.
“This Hydrogen Society Roadmap will assist and enable our government and industrial stakeholders to put in place a policy framework required to promote the exploitation of the benefits that hydrogen provides through its integration into the various sectors of the economy”, he said.
The science and innovation department wants to position the policy framework to “leverage on the existing relevant government policy documents as well as identify gaps within the regulatory regime that needs to be addressed to enable the widespread use of hydrogen as an energy source in the economy and society”.
The framework is also intended to transition the research and development and demonstration phase into the commercial phase.
The minister emphasized that South Africa has a comparative advantage in terms of renewable hydrogen and green power fuels.
“We have a unique competitive advantage in the production of green powerfuels. The exceptional wind and solar natural resources, which together with abundant low-cost land, 50 years of experience in the commercial production of synthetic fuels using the Fischer-Tropsch process, and good shipping access to the rapidly growing international markets of the European Union and the Far East, including China and Japan, should position us as a key role player in renewable hydrogen and green powerfuels, both locally and internationally”, he said.