The two countries want to cooperate more closely on sustainably produced hydrogen.
Germany and South Africa want to strengthen their cooperation on green hydrogen and products made from it. Therefore, German Economics Minister Robert Habeck and South African Minister of Electricity Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Tuesday, the German Ministry of Economics announced.
The agreement set out closer exchanges between the two countries along the entire green hydrogen value chain – from production to application to transport. Access to markets should also be facilitated. Germany already initiated the exchange on energy issues with South Africa in December last year (we reported). The country, which is one of the leading producers of platinum group metals that are often used as catalysts in hydrogen production, has relied for a long time primarily on fossil resources for energy production and power generation. An international partnership to support the African country in its energy transition has existed for some time. With the cooperation agreement between Germany and South Africa, the country at the Cape of Good Hope is now taking a further step in this direction.
At the meeting, Habeck emphasized that both countries would benefit from the agreement: On the one hand, it would accelerate economic development and reliable power supply in South Africa, on the other hand making Germany’s energy supply more sustainable and diversified. South Africa will also receive an additional 30 million euros to implement the energy transition.
Wide Range of Applications for Green Hydrogen
As a sun- and wind-rich country, South Africa fulfills ideal conditions to produce green hydrogen using renewable energies such as solar and wind power. In the medium and long term, this could decarbonize South Africa’s industry and produce products like steel or cement without emissions, according to a press release from the German Federal Ministry of Economics. In addition to industry, the sustainably produced energy carrier could also be used in the aviation or shipping industries in the form of CO2-neutral fuel. For this purpose, it is further processed into so-called power-to-X products, for example, kerosene or ammonia. In the long term, green hydrogen will also be exported.
When it comes to sustainably produced hydrogen for the energy transition, Germany and the EU have had their eyes on Africa for some time now. Germany already concluded a hydrogen partnership with Namibia in 2021. The EU followed by concluding a partnership with Kazakhstan and signing an agreement with Egypt in 2022.
Photo: iStock/Nico van Blerk