A green hydrogen microgrid project in South Africa’s capital last week (July 13) kicked off, offering stable power supply to an aluminium vehicle body manufacturer.
The HyTra project in Cape Town, near the Namibian port city of Walvis Bay, integrates electrolysers for green hydrogen production and fuel cells for the reconversion to electricity for the storage of electricity generated from wind and solar production.
Alu-Cab, the aluminium body manufacturer, will utilise the power produced by the system in Cape Town, using its own solar systems to power the microgrid, allowing renewable electricity to be available when needed.
Additionally, oxygen produced from the electrolysis process will be supplied to a local school in Walvis Bay for wastewater treatment for irrigation purposed in its cultivation areas.
Carried out by Fraunhofer IWU, Texulting Gmbh, Alu-Cab, Stellenbosch University and Umstro GmbH, it is said to be the first project of its kind to be carried out on African soil.
Designed for hydrogen utilisation in Africa, the HyTra project is aimed at fostering local acceptance and enable value creation through the technology, while building bridges between Africa and Europe.
It comes as the first hydrogen pilot project from the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conversation and Nuclear Safety (BMUV), both continents are expected to benefit from the partnership, with systems and know-how coming from Germany, while local partners will become increasingly involved.
It is hoped appropriate scaling on both sides will turn hydrogen into an export commodity for Africa will also supporting Europe’s wider energy transition, which looks set to require a high amount of hydrogen imports in the future.
“We would like to express our gratitude to all project participants who have passionately made the start of this important project possible,” said Dr. Ulrike Beyer from Fraunhofer.
A H2 View webinar recently heard that hydrogen could play a key role in microgrid applications to offer independent, decarbonised power.
“The benefit that hydrogen offers is not just the ability to store energy as an electron, but you can also storage hydrogen as a molecule which could be used directly in some applications,” said Megan Reusser, Hydrogen Technology manager at Burns & McDonnell.