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6 November 2022
UWC Augments Green Hydrogen Production Development and Training
With world-leading solar resources, vast open plains and being home to 75% of the world's platinum group metals, South Africa has a significant advantage in the production potential of green hydrogen. 

Ensuring the development and protection of intellectual property, technology transfer and project management skills are all essential elements that complement these natural advantages in a South African context.

For these reasons, the South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry (SAIAMC) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) has embarked on a joint venture consisting of Keren Energy, Sakhumnotho, Cape Stack and Namaqua Engineering on the West Coast.

In this collaboration, SAIAMC acted as the lead technology and skills development partner on a green hydrogen proof of concept (POC) project in Vredendal. 
 
Dr Stanford Chidziva (third from left) at the SASOL exhibition
during the Africa Energy Week Conference in October

“Preparing graduates with updated skills for roles in a new energy environment is crucial as we enter an era of embracing cleaner, greener and more sustainable energy production systems,” commented Dr Stanford Chidziva, acting director of the green hydrogen programme at SAIAMC. 

“Skills development programmes in the traditional energy sector have demonstrated the value of on-site experience through hands-on apprenticeships and similar initiatives over the last 50 years”. 

Dr Chidziva is finalising a programme to develop and equip human resources and believes the project is among the first in the country to demonstrate the feasibility of producing green hydrogen using solar energy as the energy source.

He said the programme is specifically designed to improve the employability of the youth for the upcoming energy market, and SAIAMC is better placed to achieve that. “The extensive network of more than 50 industrial collaborators, ranging from large- to micro-sized enterprises, puts SAIAMC in a unique position where the imbalance between knowledge and skills is addressed.” 

Dr Chidziva's passion for hydrogen safety, along with his experience, led him to explore studies at Ulster University in the United Kingdom, where he obtained his master’s degree in Hydrogen Safety Engineering (Cum Laude) in 2014. He subsequently obtained his PhD in 2020 from UWC, and is one of South Africa's first hydrogen safety experts. 

At the Africa Energy Week Conference in October, he collaborated with SASOL to exhibit UWC’s hydrogen technology and experience, and future similar activities with the company and other industrial partners are being envisaged.

About SAIAMC

SAIAMC was established in 2004 to pioneer a new type of relationship between industry and academia in South Africa. The initiative is intended to fast-track improvements in vital stages of accessible energy generation processes and to simultaneously develop human capital capable of moving seamlessly from university to industry without the costly intermediate training period usually involved with graduate employment.

The Institute comprises four distinct and closely interrelated programmes: The Hydrogen South Africa Systems Integration Competence Centre (HySA Systems), PetroSA Synthetic Fuels Innovation Centre (PSFIC) and the Energy Storage & Fluid Treatment Centre (ESFTC) and Green Hydrogen Programme.

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