Hydrogen, green variety

Green hydrogen projects form a part of the country’s shift away from coal-reliant energy supplies as one of the latest Just Transition Investment Plan’s four frontiers.

The South African government has already set aside R300 billion (about $20.8 billion) for funding green hydrogen projects through Infrastructure South Africa (ISA). However, the country’s Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, has stated that additional funding will be needed.

A feasibility report estimates that the cost of producing green hydrogen in South Africa will be around $4 per kilogram by 2030, which is $2 more than traditional hydrogen production methods.

According to the energy transition advisory group Royal HaskoningDHV, Gladys Nabagala, South Africa is primed for green hydrogen as its size and climate allow for some of the highest renewable energy loads from solar and wind as well as having abundant land in proximity to oceans – among other things.

In late** November 2022**, Ramaphosa, alongside the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, announced the initiation of South Africa’s Green Hydrogen Summit, outlining new mega projects for the country.

Under the Green Hydrogen National Program (GHNP), there are 19 projects aimed to take place as soon as possible after they are gazetted.



What gets me is that the cost will be x2 of traditional hydrogen production costs, WTF :face_vomiting:


Don’t totally understand that… if you use Renewable Energy your electricity input costs will be lower and the production process doesn’t change.

Correction: Green requires electrolysis and so is more expensive. BUT this doesn’t factor in the enviornmental “saving” of green versus the rest.

I don’t know the technical details, but I was informed by a colleague who does that the efficiencies of converting hydrogen to electrical power are dismal. It’s something along the lines of an OCGT at best.
For those that don’t know, an OCGT produces that much waste heat that it can supply a CCGT
(combined cycle gas turbine) essentially from its exhaust gas. This means its efficiency, just as an OCGT, is pretty pathetic.

I feel the public will be fed the next “pebble bed” buzzword, namely " green hydrogen".

An d on top of that, the carbon output is not 0 at all, ya gotta build them Solar and Wind and thermal energy plants. Then ya gotta build them factories, and build the infrastructure to do the electrolysis in the first place, none of it green… So there is that.

What was that on lies, damn lies and statistics.


Well, it depends on what they mean by “traditional”. There are two ways to make hydrogen. One way is electrolysis. The other is splitting it out of a hydrocarbon. You take a C_something+H_something_else, split out the H, do something with the C. If you capture that C and do something useful with it, you got yourself blue hydrogen. If you don’t, it is called grey hydrogen.

If “traditional” means “grey”, then I would totally expect the cost of green hydrogen (made with electrolysis) to be more expensive. In other words, twice the cost might actually be nothing. I can’t say without the full information.

That’s what is unclear. If you’re comparing with grey hydrogen, this is not necessarily the case. The chart you added sort-of illustrates my point.

I heard 40% to 60% (that is a very wide range, I know!), in a fuel cell. Which is not that bad compared to the alternative (internal combustion), but comes with plenty of caveats, namely that the power density of a fuel cell is poor, and they have a limited lifetime. The membrane apparently doesn’t last forever. When you combine the total efficiency of making the hydrogen (apparently around 75%) with the efficiency of turning it back into electricity in a fuel cell (let’s say 50%), you get an overall efficiency of around 37%… which is indeed probably about on par with a good OCGT, or even a well performing coal plant (with the important caveat that instead of efficiently polluting it is inefficiently not-polluting, so there is that!).

I think there is more to be said about that, and that is something I only started to realise recently. Let me explain by analogy.

Solar panels are only around 20% efficient in converting sunlight into electricity. Pretty terrible, right? Well, in many cases it doesn’t matter. It only matters if you have 1) a lack of space, or 2) a lack of materials. If you can, for little cost (be it monetary of environmental) just build the thing 5 times larger, it doesn’t matter, right?

In the same way, the poor efficiency of the hydrogen chain doesn’t matter, if the rest of the stuff around it can be made at a low enough monetary as well as environmental cost.

The thing is, I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon. I will not say never, but definitely not soon. If you have to build 5 times the generation capacity (apparently, for hydrogen, a best case scenario is twice the capacity, a worst case scenario is ten times the capacity), the carbon footprint of THAT endeavour may well obliterate the equivalent cost of a large battery.

This appears to be one of the bastions of anti-lithium arguments: That making the battery is SO BAD for the environment, that building 5 times more wind turbines and solar panels (with all the associated mining that goes with that!) is less. Somehow… I think they are wishing that their enemy could be a little bit blacker than it really is.

Also see this old video from Jason @ EngineeringExplained explaining (ahem) some of this.

Ahemmm ja boet, Tax randelas, that is where it is at… none of the technical details is really relevant in this case. Extract Tax candelas, mission inefficient achieved. It’s like most of our SoE’s the worse and less efficient they are, the more people can be employed, and paid with them candelas for mahala. The more lucrative tenders and tenderpreneurs.

The word me thinks is whitewash in a sense, legal Tax money transferred, but just illegally and/or imorrally, but hey, it’s my opinion only.


Besides, we have bigger problems than trying out Hydrogen I’d say… Like Electricity and Water and Employment especially of lower or unskilled labour.


Years ago I read about this female, she inherited the milk farm from her father. She took over. In the end, she powered not only the farm’s electricity needs but also the town’s electricity.

Ok, USA milk/cattle farms are massive.

Here is another video along similar lines.

I really don’t know why more farmers internationally have not done this, bar the initial cost. Cause it will stop a lot of far-left/right greenies dead in their tracks, and we can have our meat/milk and drink/eat it. :wink:

And biodiesel, to grow it locally … the arguments going around that too, is really disheartening.

Aaah ok, you don’t trust them. I don’t always trust the journalists to report properly. Trust is a big issue in this country.

Fallacy of relative privation, sorry… I can’t help but spot these :slight_smile:

Let’s have a look at why there is distrust, shall we? :slight_smile:
Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table
At which he’s fed.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid.

When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
It’s time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Airline surcharge tax
Airline Fuel Tax
Airport Maintenance Tax
Building Permit Tax
Cigarette Tax
Cooking Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Death Tax
Driving Permit Tax
Environmental Tax (Fee)
Excise Taxes
Income Tax
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Petrol Tax (too much per litre)
Gross Receipts Tax
Health Tax
Heating Tax
Inheritance Tax
Interest Tax
Lighting Tax
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Mortgage Tax
Pension Tax
Personal Income Tax
Property Tax
Poverty Tax
Prescription Drug Tax
Real Estate Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Retail Sales Tax
Service Charge Tax
School Tax
Telephone Tax
Value Added Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Water Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
Tax (VAT) on Tax.
And Now they want a blooming Carbon Tax! (… hydrogen tax …? )

Very few if any of these taxes existed 100 years ago yet our nation was one of the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had a large middle class, a huge manufacturing base, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. (if she wanted too)

… could it be the lying parasitic politicians wasting our money?

Yeah, distrust.

And you disagree… I see. Money spent on Hydrogen, in my opinion, is a total waste in SA. Further to that, Tax money is supposed to help the state to deliver services, not go into pockets of a selected few. There is let me see, I won’t mention State Capture or the weapons scandal. Education (we at the bottom) Medical care, not far from the bottom, Crime, some of the worst and the SAPS partaking in it, but let me stop here after some of the worst unemployment in the World.

So yes, no fallacy brother…


I don’t disagree with you. I’m differentiating between 1) the cost these guys quoted for hydrogen is too high, and 2) I don’t trust these guys to do it right.

I’m with you on option 2. The track record is terrible.

And re fallacies. You can get to the right conclusion, but using the wrong methods (like sometimes in maths when your mistakes cancel out and you get the right anwer, it happens). Whenever you challenge the speedcop who pulled you over for speeding about whether he doesn’t have more important things to do… that’s the fallacy of relative privation.

We should not spend money on making SA green, we should rather … . In my mind, it would be nice if we could do both. Otherwise, one good thing is always held hostage by another bad thing.

I’m probably being philosophical again :slight_smile:

Right now in SA, with all that is going on, philosophical views should just maybe wait a wee bit.

We have real actual problems.

Once we have that under control, we will have time to have any and all philosophical debates about what to do next with our newfound knowledge … if we can fix it that is.

Right now we don’t have that luxury.



Uuuuh… that is in itself a philosophical view. You cannot even dismiss philosophy without doing it.

It is one reason I love it so much. Everything, in the end, is freakin philosophy.

Prioritising budget for one item over another… you decided X is more important than Y, and there was a reason you did that.

I think producing green hydrogen in SA is an excellent idea. I would rather have the private sector do it though.

Now see, without incentives, or wealth distribution if you like the alternative view, ie Tax randelas, nobody in for profit business would do this locally me thinks. Why not, what is the market, where is this market. Hydrogen is an energy source, there are many others and capital is ruthlessly efficient, it will find the best and therefore cheapest source and run with that. And that ain’t Hydrogen. Apart from the distribution and also storage issues.

Think on this a wee bit, transferring Tax to either a SoE like Sasol, or a private outfit like oh say Mobil or other offshore entity with local presence, like a lot of our Solar and Wind farms owners with a healthy cut to a few local cadres. Now that is a good way to transfer Tax to private partners for a cut. See Sanral/Etoll…


Man, I can only smile…. philosophy, from hydrogen, the most obscure hijack ever :thinking::shushing_face::exploding_head::face_with_spiral_eyes::cowboy_hat_face:


I do apologise :slight_smile: I tend to apply some skills to everything, trying to get to the crux of the matter.

There was a part I didn’t argue for. Which is that lately… I’m coming around to the possible utility of hydrogen.

There are only two ways – so the scientists tell us – of reaching the climate goals of 2050 in terms of transportation. The one is electrical vehicles. The other is hydrogen.

Hydrogen is good enough to get us there. It is not as good as battery storage, but it is on the list, and I suspect that for things like aviation or shipping (thankfully just 2.5% of all emissions, each), the solution is going to be something of that kind. So it cannot be entirely dismissed.

I would dearly love this country to have a slice of that pie. But I also want to keep it from the claws of greedy politicians. Just like you.