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An SA first in green hydrogen production in Vredendal

The University of the Western Cape (UWC), through the South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry (SAIAMC), has partnered with a joint venture consisting of Keren Energy, Sakhumnotho, Cape Stack and Namaqua Engineering, on a green hydrogen proof of concept (POC) project in Vredendal, in the Western Cape. Photo: Supplied

The University of the Western Cape (UWC), through the South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry (SAIAMC), has partnered with a joint venture consisting of Keren Energy, Sakhumnotho, Cape Stack and Namaqua Engineering, on a green hydrogen proof of concept (POC) project in Vredendal, in the Western Cape. Photo: Supplied

Published Mar 24, 2022

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The University of the Western Cape (UWC), through the South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry (SAIAMC), has partnered with a joint venture consisting of Keren Energy, Sakhumnotho, Cape Stack and Namaqua Engineering, on a green hydrogen proof of concept (POC) project in Vredendal, in the Western Cape.

The project is among the first in South Africa to demonstrate the feasibility of producing green hydrogen using solar energy as the energy source.

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The site has a 100kW photovoltaic solar system installed and this energy will be used to produce green hydrogen. The hydrogen will be used in various industrial applications and, ultimately, in fuel cell vehicles of the future.

Keren Energy, a renewable energy company with a solar, biomass and hydro energy focus, has a joint development agreement with Cape Stack, a hydrogen electrolyser and fuel cell stack production company – which in turn has a technology development partnership with SAIAMC at UWC.

As a successful bidder in the South Africa’s Department of Energy REIPPPP (Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme), Keren Energy is proving a valuable strategic partner with a network of industrial partners in the green energy production space, a statement said yesterday.

The engineering partner on the 100kW project is Namaqua Engineering, a Vredendal-based firm.

Hydrogen electrolyser technology development at UWC has been evolving over more than 20 years and the participation of Dr Stanford Chidziva, SAIAMC Technical and Safety, saw the initiation of the prototype green hydrogen production system for general hydrogen consumption at the SAIAMC Innovation Center.

The hydrogen production system used on this project was tested and validated at the SAIAMC facility before it was integrated, jointly with Cape Stack, at the Namaqua Engineering facility in Vredendal.

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The programme was specifically designed to improve the employability of youth for the upcoming energy market. The network of more than 50 industrial collaborators, ranging from large- to micro-sized enterprises, put SAIAMC in a position where the imbalance between knowledge and skills was addressed, the statement said.

With world-leading solar resources, vast open plains and home to 75 percent of the world’s platinum group metals (PGMs), South Africa has a significant advantage in the production potential of green hydrogen.

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