Flanders and South Africa want to cooperate on green hydrogen

Green hydrogen is high on the political agenda, not only in Flanders but also in South Africa. A cooperation between the two is in the making, as was revealed Tuesday during a working visit by Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon to Pretoria.

With plenty of sun and a coastline, South Africa already has the right conditions to become the promised land for renewable energy and green hydrogen. Although electricity from sun and wind is still in its infancy, the country wants to fully commit to green hydrogen, says Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bonginkosi Nzimande. ​

For that development, South Africa wants to cooperate with other countries, and is also looking to Belgium. Our country already has the necessary companies, infrastructure and ports to buy green hydrogen. We also have a lot of know-how available. ​

"We are asking for a cooperation," Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon said during his conversation with Nzimande.

Moreover, there already is a lot of cooperation between Flanders and South Africa in the field of research and technology. For example, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) is working with its South African counterpart Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on battery storage. VITO supplies the test bench and the necessary know-how to South Africa to test large batteries. With this extra storage capacity, the country wants to avoid blackouts. ​

South Africa is currently struggling with many blackouts on the electricity network. An outdated infrastructure and a huge population growth cause the demand for electricity to skyrocket, which puts the network under the necessary pressure. Today, electricity is mainly generated by coal-fired power plants. The country - Africa's most industrialised - is therefore looking to green hydrogen, among other things, to make the transition to renewable energy. A new cooperation agreement on this was signed on Tuesday in Pretoria, in the presence of Flemish Minister-President Jambon. ​

Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon is paying a working visit to South Africa this week, where political, cultural and economic contacts are on the agenda. At the beginning of his tour, the Prime Minister gave a speech at the opening of the diplomatic representative of Flanders in South Africa (video).

© BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK: South African Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Boninkosi Emmanuel 'Blade' Nzimande and Flemish Minister President Jan Jambon pictured during a visit to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), during a diplomatic mission of the Flemish government to South-Africa, in Pretoria, Tuesday 05 April 2022.

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