Honourable Premier of Gauteng, Mr Panyaza Lesufi,
Members of the Gauteng Provincial Government,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We find ourselves at a pivotal moment in history, where the fate of our planet, and the legacy we leave for future generations, are at a crossroads.
As a global community, it is clear, that we cannot maintain the planet’s ecosystems, nor our quality of life, if we do not make fundamental shifts, in the way we live and conduct business.
Safeguarding our future for a better world, will require deliberate and collaborative effort, that transcends borders, industries, and societies.
Against this backdrop, I am delighted that today we unveil, South Africa’s first proof-of-concept, for an on-road hydrogen mobility ecosystem, a significant milestone, some two years in its development.
For over seven decades, Sasol has relentlessly pursued, innovation and process advancements, to produce world-class synthetic fuels and chemicals. We are a significant contributor to South Africa’s energy security, meeting approximately 30 percent, of the country’s liquid fuels needs.
Today, Sasol’s purpose, which is: to innovate for a better world, is again realised, through pioneering energy solutions that are sustainable in a lower-carbon reality.
The modern world as we know it, is shaped by our ability to move. Transportation is key to our societies and economies thriving. However, the sector globally is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The National Business Initiative cited a recent study, that the transport sector contributes more than 10 percent, to South Africa’s gross national emissions.
We are confident that green hydrogen is key to decarbonising, various hard-to-abate sectors, as well as the transport sector.
Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, has the potential to be a game-changer, in the quest for sustainable energy and transportation.
As one of the world’s largest producers of grey hydrogen, we have deep experience and expertise in its production and marketing. This has shaped our ambition to play a leading role in the development of a South African green hydrogen economy.
Approximately two years ago, Sasol set itself an ambition with the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Our strategic intent is to transition in a gradual, phased approach that encompasses a reset, transition and reinvent pathway. As we progress, we are committed to transforming our operations by shifting towards alternative feedstocks and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Our vision encompasses a future where green hydrogen and biogenic sources of carbon, play a central role, as they become increasingly abundant and accessible from an affordability point of view.
Sasol’s unique Fischer-Tropsch technology, or FT in short, will play a key role in our transition. While FT technologies are typically linked to fossil fuel feedstocks today, our technology is agnostic, when it comes to the source of the of the hydrogen or carbon feedstock. With FT technology, we can produce sustainable products; very much sought after, in a low carbon world.
Furthermore, the flexibility of our FT technology, enables us to adapt our solutions, that align with changing market requirements.
Together with the country’s renewable energy potential and mineral wealth, South Africa is well positioned to be a global green hydrogen destination. But we cannot achieve this ambition alone. We need partners to help us build an ecosystem.
Catalysed by our commitment to decarbonisation, Sasol formed a strategic partnership with Toyota South Africa Motors in 2021, to explore the development of a local green hydrogen mobility ecosystem. Toyota is at the forefront of hydrogen fuel cell technology development and I’m sure you can agree that the Toyota Mirai is a beautiful application of hydrogen fuel cell technology.
We subsequently expanded this collaboration to include Air Products, a world-leading provider, in hydrogen dispensing technologies, logistics and support. Their role is essential to enabling on-the-road hydrogen mobility.
As we work towards redefining our business, we are committed to enabling a just transition and decarbonisation through various pathways – from sustainable aviation fuel and integrating renewable energy into our operations, to exploring carbon capture technologies and green hydrogen mobility – the reason we are here today.
Green hydrogen is named as such because electrolyser plants that produce these molecules are powered by renewable energy. South Africa is one the world’s leading locations with significant renewable energy potential, particularly wind and solar. We have embraced this strategic advantage by procuring over 600 megawatts of renewable energy to date, with another 600 megawatts to follow towards 2030.
At our Sasolburg operations, we have successfully commissioned a 3 megawatt solar farm, that powers existing electrolysers. I am very pleased that we have already achieved daily production of approximately 150 kilograms of green hydrogen during the plant’s commissioning phase in our Sasolburg facility.
In the near term, this will be bolstered by a further 69 megawatts from the Msenge Emoyeni wind farm, in the Eastern Cape. We expect this to come online in 2024 and will enable our Sasolburg electrolysers, to produce up to 5 500 tons of green hydrogen a day.
Having reached this historic milestone, much more work is to be done, which includes developing the regulatory environment in which green hydrogen mobility can thrive.
The National Land Transport Strategic Framework gazetted by the Minister in March 2023, outlines the complex set of challenges currently faced by the South African transport sector. This also outlines government’s strategic ambitions for the South African transport sector and promotes the development of cleaner propulsion fuels, including green hydrogen. It is also important to recognise the work being done by the National Logistics Crisis Committee, to address some of these concerns in the medium term.
We continue to collaborate with government on all levels and across various ministries, departments and agencies, to realise South Africa’s transition to a lower-carbon reality.
However, today is about showcasing a solution we firmly believe in, which is harnessing the power of hydrogen to propel a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle
Milestones such as this one hold immense significance, as they serve as catalysts for exploration, progress and development. They are the culmination of multi-disciplinary expertise and experience, from many stakeholders. And I am very proud, to have Sasol be part of this green hydrogen mobility initiative.
As technology advances, more innovative mobility options could emerge, including robo-shuttles like shared autonomous minibuses or urban air taxis. Trains and heavy-duty transport will likely be biased towards hydrogen as a source of propulsion. The result of all these changes? A mobility ecosystem that is more intelligent, seamless, and environmentally friendly.
The programme this week, I am sure, will cover many of these emerging technologies in mobility, that are likely to present both opportunities and challenges to the automotive industry in South Africa. Therefore, let us embrace and engage on these concepts and keep an open mind to collaborate and harness the business opportunities, to bolster our economy in South Africa.
To conclude, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to our partners, Toyota South Africa Motors and Air Products South Africa, for their invaluable contribution in bringing this initiative to life. As Sasol, we look forward to the next phase of our partnership.
In closing, it gives me great pleasure to now invite you to join Sasol, Toyota and Air Products and experience our on-road hydrogen mobility proof-of-concept ecosystem.
I thank you.