Toyota, in partnership with Sasol and Air Products, recently demonstrated their hydrogen ecosystem in South Africa. They showcased the first hydrogen-powered drive on local soil.
The potential of hydrogen in SA has emerged as a game-changer in sustainable transportation. However, there are challenges to overcome before hydrogen fuel becomes a viable option in the country.
One challenge is the production of hydrogen itself, as it requires energy-intensive processes. Sasol has developed a green plant to produce the fuel, using renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. This ensures a zero emissions proof of concept.
Another challenge is the distribution of hydrogen fuel. Air Products, a collaborator in the hydrogen ecosystem, already has an infrastructure for potential future distribution. However, building a network of hydrogen refueling stations will take time and investment.
Andrew Kirby, Toyota South Africa Motors President and CEO, stated that hydrogen fuel would need more partners, investors, and support from the government to become truly viable.
Initially, the focus would be on high commercial traffic areas like the Pretoria-Johannesburg region. Long-term plans include expanding the hydrogen ecosystem along major long-haul routes.
Hydrogen fuel is seen as more suitable for long-distance commercial vehicles. It is also expected to be more affordable and cost-effective compared to conventional internal combustion engines.
However, the electric motors used in hydrogen-powered vehicles are still costly and difficult to produce.
Despite these challenges, with the right support and interest, hydrogen mobility could be South Africa’s solution for a zero-emissions future.
It has the potential to align the country with more environmentally friendly practices and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
I think that hydrogen fuel vehicles can be very useful across Africa. Africa has a lot of renewable energy, which can be used to make clean hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel vehicles are good for long trips, which is important in Africa.
But there are some problems that need to be fixed before hydrogen fuel vehicles can be used a lot in Africa. One problem is that making hydrogen and building places to fill up with hydrogen can be expensive.
Another problem is that there aren’t many places in Africa that have the things needed for hydrogen vehicles. Even though there are problems, it seems that hydrogen fuel vehicles can create a cleaner energy future in Africa.