SA, UK Univ Signs MoU To Focus On Hydrogen Valley South Africa

University of Stellenbosch has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Teesside University in England to develop a green hydrogen sector.

SA, UK Univ Signs MoU To Focus On Hydrogen Valley South Africa

“More emphasis will be placed on activities centred on hydrogen valley of South Africa, as proposed in the Hydrogen Society Roadmap approved by the Cabinet earlier this year,” said Professor Mampwheli, Director of Stellenbosch University’s Center for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies.

The University of Stellenbosch, in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Teesside University in England to develop a green hydrogen sector and conduct research to help South Africa with technology localization and industrialization through its hydrogen economy.

Professor Sampson Mampwheli, who represented Stellenbosch University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Postgraduate Studies, Professor Sibusiso Moyo; Hon. Dr. Blade Mzimande, South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Technology; Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, who represented Teesside University; and other dignitaries from South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation attended the signing ceremony.

“The main focus is the production of green hydrogen in South Africa,” stated Professor Mampwheli, Director of the Center for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies at Stellenbosch University, adding that “The research activities will include, amongst other areas, hydrogen production technologies, hydrogen conversion technologies such as fuel cells and gas turbines, and techno-economic analysis of hydrogen projects such as the production of hydrogen for the export market.”

Under the terms of the MoU, the governments of South Africa and the United Kingdom will provide the resources required to ensure that the operationalization of hydrogen technology localization is consistent with South Africa’s Hydrogen Society Roadmap, the country’s strategy to develop and integrate hydrogen-related technologies into its economy, with the United Kingdom having pledged financial support through grant funding during South Africa’s President’s state visit to Britain in November 2022.

“Through its Center for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, Stellenbosch University has a long history of renewable energy research. Green hydrogen research will complement existing research on solar and wind energy, among other things, according to Professor Moyo.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Universities of Stellenbosch and Teesside is part of South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Partnership with the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, and the European Union, which has pledged $8.5 billion to support the decarbonization of South Africa’s economy and will involve knowledge sharing and the exchange of best practises.

Meanwhile, Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Engineering has been allocated $695,000 over the next three years for research and expertise in the field. The funds will be used to hire a part-time director, a programme manager, and up to four postdoctoral fellows, as well as to fund student and staff research projects.

The research will concentrate on new technology development, such as photocatalytic production and hydrogen storage; technology intelligence and systems engineering, which will concentrate on the availability of hydrogen technology in the Southern African region; and technology demonstration and deployment, which will concentrate on technologies that will be implemented in the field.

Four large-scale catalytic projects are currently being developed in South Africa to facilitate the green hydrogen and ammonia journey. The Platinum Valley Initiative (PVI)—the Hydrogen Valley of South Africa—was established to create catalytic green hydrogen hubs and a “Hydrogen Corridor.”