The two partners have acknowledged that South Africa is in a beneficial position to leverage its world-class renewable resources and infrastructure, with help from Sasol’s Fischer-Tropsch technology.

Sasol and the IDC will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis in developing pilot and commercial-scale hydrogen projects to pioneer viable and sustainable solutions, advocating for a policy framework to enable a hydrogen economy.

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They will also access local and international financing options and will pursue strategic projects that benefit the country’s energy transition and economic development goals.

Sasol Energy Business executive vice president Priscillah Mabelane said: “Green hydrogen provides an exciting opportunity for the country to create new hydrogen ecosystems and become a credible exporter of sustainable energy and chemical products, such as hydrogen, ammonia, and sustainable aviation fuel, while increasing much-needed employment opportunities.

“Our ambition is to lead and co-create South Africa’s hydrogen ecosystems through strategic partnerships, leveraging our proprietary technology and integrated value chain. We are delighted to partner with the IDC in jointly pursuing South Africa’s green hydrogen potential to support a just energy transition and unlock new value chains to ignite the country’s economy.”

Historically, South Africa has been a net importer of energy in the liquid fuels and gas sector so the development of hydrogen will be key in repositioning the country’s role as an exporter of clean energy.

IDC chief operations officer Joanne Bate said: “We are looking forward to working together with Sasol in identifying and co-developing such catalytic projects. Our involvement in the development of the hydrogen industry also provides opportunities to fulfil our development mandate, which entails job creation and opportunities to involve previously disadvantaged entities.”

As a country with considerable solar and wind resources, South Africa can combine investment and regulatory environment to build itself a new reputation as a green hydrogen exporter, while decarbonising large sectors of its own economy.