With the Eastern Cape firmly established as the leading wind power province, other innovative and important subsectors are making their presence felt in the energy landscape.
The decision by Bushveld Energy to start producing vanadium battery electrolyte at its new facility in East London is an important marker for that sector. The company intends eventually assembling battery systems locally.
The Coega SEZ has been chosen by Hive Hydrogen SA as the location of a green ammonia project which will be fully operational by 2026. The project investment amount is approximately $4.6-billion, principally focussed on the construction of a green ammonia plant. The main development partners are Built Africa and Hive Energy of the UK who have formed Hive Hydrogen SA but various other partners are involved. Local salt manufacturer Cerebos will supply desalinated water to the project. Solar and wind projects producing 4 000MW will need to be built to supply the project with renewable energy.
The ammonia will be separated from the oxygen by an electrolyser, and hydrogen and nitrogen will be combined to form green ammonia which will be stored in liquid form at a tank at the Port of Ngqura, from where it can be exported around the world. It can be used in fertiliser and explosives. Gas company Afrox is another partner, although there is no intention currently to convert the oxygen to pharmaceutical-grade product as that market is currently well served.
Another renewable energy investor in the Coega SEZ is Seraphim Solar Cell Manufacturing that is investing R362-million to increase the local content of its solar value chain.
At the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), several new renewable energy investors have signed up in recent months.
The first environmental authorisations, which cover Mossel Bay and Coega, have been gazetted and are the first steps towards the building of a 400 km gas pipeline from Mossel Bay to a planned 1000MW gas power station at Coega.
Aspen Pharmacare will take its operations off grid by 2024 by purchasing power from companies that generate electricity from waste plastic. The Aspen factory on the edge of North End Lake is one of the province’s biggest manufacturing concerns and currently gets 8% of its electricity from solar roof installations. A process called pyrolysis will convert plastic waste into a synthetic fuel.
Humansdorp could become the site of a plant that produces e-methanol from green hydrogen and gas created from locally-sourced biomass. Three companies have signed an agreement to do a feasibility study: ENERTRAG South Africa, Earth & Wire and 24Solutions. The abundant wind and solar resources of the area would create the renewable energy to form the green hydrogen.
Invest in renewable energy
To find out about opportunities to invest in the renewable energy sector in the Eastern Cape, please contact the ECDC: