South Africa is making significant strides in its pursuit of a hydrogen-based economy, with Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, set to lead a delegation to Tokyo, Japan, starting on September 25, 2023. The visit is aimed at showcasing South Africa’s commitment to hydrogen energy and fostering collaboration, investment, and innovation in this vital sector.
The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) has been at the forefront of South Africa’s efforts to establish a hydrogen economy. This visit to Japan will provide a platform to highlight DSI’s work in hydrogen energy and promote partnerships that align with the Hydrogen Society Roadmap for South Africa.
The Hydrogen Society Roadmap, launched by the DSI in 2022, is a national framework designed to facilitate the integration of hydrogen-related technologies across various sectors of the South African economy. It plays a crucial role in stimulating economic growth, in line with the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. One of the key objectives of the roadmap is to establish a manufacturing sector for hydrogen products and components.
Minister Nzimande’s engagements in Japan will kick off with his participation in the Tokyo GX Week Plenary Session on September 25. Tokyo GX Week, hosted by Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Yasutoshi Nishimura, focuses on accelerating efforts toward achieving net-zero emissions. The program aims to steer countries away from fossil fuel-dependent structures and toward clean energy solutions, fostering both economic development and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Furthermore, Dr. Nzimande will address the 6th Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting, which will bring together global leaders in the energy and environment sectors, from both the public and private domains.
On September 26, the DSI will collaborate with the Japan External Trade Organisation to organize a South Africa-Japan workshop. The primary goal is to facilitate discussions between South African and Japanese entities regarding the development of a large-scale hydrogen demonstration project.
One of the anticipated highlights of the visit is the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the DSI and METI, expected to be endorsed by Minister Nzimande and Mr. Nishimura. This memorandum aims to foster collaboration in the development of a sustainable and affordable hydrogen and ammonia supply chain. Both South Africa and Japan recognize the importance of this partnership in achieving their shared goal of net-zero emissions.
The engagements between South Africa and Japan are set to continue until September 27, showcasing the nation’s long-standing relationship and shared interests in science, technology, and innovation. Bilateral cooperation in these fields has flourished since the signing of an agreement on science, technology, and innovation in 2003, further solidifying the ties between the two countries.
This visit marks a significant step forward in South Africa’s journey towards a hydrogen-based economy and underscores the importance of international collaboration in addressing global environmental challenges.