Hydrogen economy is a strategic priority for South Africa, says President Ramaphosa

PTI | Johannesburg | Updated: 09-05-2022 23:57 IST | Created: 09-05-2022 23:46 IST
Hydrogen economy is a strategic priority for South Africa, says President Ramaphosa
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Developing the hydrogen economy is a strategic priority for South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa said at the official launch of the world's largest mine haul truck powered by green hydrogen by mining giant Anglo American.

The truck – which was converted from diesel to hydrogen – is also powered in part by lithium-ion batteries.

"Not only will (the hydrogen economy) be a valuable driver of economic growth and employment; it will also contribute to our decarbonisation efforts. The launch of the nuGen truck is a remarkable milestone in our journey towards an industry and an economy that is more sustainable, more innovative and more resourceful," Ramaphosa said.

The president asserted that mining has been, and continues to be a vital pillar of the South African economy, creating value and fuelling productive activity far beyond mining areas.

The green hydrogen economy has been billed as a new frontier for clean energy as it emits low carbon emissions with a global potential of about USD 300 billion in exports.

"In ways both beneficial and harmful, mining has shaped this country over more than 150 years. It has driven our industrialisation and secured our position in the global economy, the president said as he highlighted how despite changing mining technology mine load haulage has still been powered by fossil fuels," he explained.

"And now, with robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the likes of the nuGen truck, Anglo American is powering ahead into the fourth industrial revolution," he observed.

Anglo American plans to convert or replace the entire diesel-powered haul truck fleet with nuGen technology, eventually eliminating up to 80 per cent of diesel emissions at its open pit mines.

Ramaphosa said this would greatly assist in reducing South Africa's carbon footprint.

"As a signatory to the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, South Africa is committed to take the necessary actions to transition our economy along a low-carbon, climate resilient, inclusive path. We have an obligation not only to honour international agreements," he noted.

"We also have an obligation to the people of this country, and to the generations that will follow, to ensure that they can live healthy, productive, sustainable and meaningful lives," he said.

Ramaphosa called for the work being done by the Department of Science and Innovation and the South African National Development Institute in partnership with Anglo, Bambili Energy and ENGIE into the feasibility of a hydrogen valley to be speeded up.

"The proposed hydrogen valley, stretching from Limpopo to Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal (provinces), will position South Africa as a global centre for green hydrogen production.

"It will lead to the creation of new industries, aid the decarbonisation of sectors like transportation, manufacturing and construction, and create new jobs for our people in all these provinces," he added.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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