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Trio collaborates to pilot hydrogen FCEVs on SA roads

Home Manufacturing & Processing Automotive Trio collaborates to pilot hydrogen FCEVs on SA roads

ANGLO American Platinum, BMW Group South Africa and Sasol South Africa Limited signed a collaboration agreement on Monday that will bring hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and supporting hydrogen refuelling technology to South Africa.

In terms of the agreement, which was signed at the 2023 South African Green Hydrogen Summit in Cape Town, BMW will provide the hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles, while Sasol will supply the green hydrogen and mobile refueler. These vehicles will operate on South African roads as part of an international trial to understand how the BMW iX5 Hydrogen performs in real-world conditions, following four years of development. Anglo American Platinum, which provides platinum group metals (PGMs) used in FCEVs and has been investing in hydrogen technologies for many years, will work closely with BMW and Sasol to help develop a local green hydrogen mobility ecosystem.

The agreement is a significant step towards accelerating the uptake of FCEVs and the establishment of related infrastructure in the country. Growing the market for hydrogen-fuelled mobility solutions is a key pillar of the South African government’s green hydrogen economy strategy, which will lower carbon emissions, unlock investment, create jobs, and drive demand for critical metals and raw materials, including PGMs.

Sasol executive vice president for the energy business, Priscillah Mabelane, said: “Sasol, BMW and Anglo American Platinum recognise the urgency of addressing climate change, and this agreement demonstrates our commitment to revolutionising the energy sector by exploring and promoting cutting-edge solutions. As an organisation that has been producing and marketing hydrogen for more than 20 years, we know hydrogen. We produced our first batch of green hydrogen at our Sasolburg facility in June and in 2024 we will ramp this up to commercial scale when a 69 MW wind farm, situated in the Eastern Cape, comes online. As Sasol, we are excited to be part of this demonstration, which has been strategic in showcasing local capability and the art of the possible.”

Peter van Binsbergen, CEO of BMW Group South Africa, said: “One technology on its own will not be enough to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide. As a versatile energy source, hydrogen has a key role to play on the road to climate neutrality. We believe South Africa – with its abundance of raw materials and sound infrastructure base – is ideally placed to deliver on the Green Hydrogen Economy’s promises. Soon, with collaborators Sasol and Anglo American Platinum, we will be able to demonstrate the technical maturity of BMW’s fuel cell electric vehicle drive system, underscoring its potential for the future.”

Craig Miller, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, said: “Hydrogen fuel cells are a critical technology for zero emission electric vehicles, and we believe FCEVs will play an important role in the mix of drivetrain technologies needed to decarbonise all forms of transport. FCEVs benefit from short refuelling times and long ranges, similar to using a diesel or petrol vehicle, but with the added benefit of zero emissions. Our collaboration with Sasol and BMW builds on various partnerships we have around the world to drive green mobility solutions and develop new uses for the products we mine.”

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