Sasol, Toyota partner in hydrogen mobility corridor project

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  • Sasol and Toyota SA have partnered to develop a hydrogen mobility corridor.
  • Speaking during a webinar on Tuesday, Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler shared the chemicals company's vision to drive the country's hydrogen economy, a cleaner option than our current carbon-based economy.
  • Part of the project involves developing infrastructure to support hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

Sasol and Toyota South Africa have partnered to develop a hydrogen mobility corridor as hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles gain traction globally.

Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler on Tuesday was announced a webinar on the hydrogen economy, hosted by EE Business Intelligence and the British High Commission to South Africa.

Sasol wants to lead efforts to support the country's hydrogen economy - this as green hydrogen and other renewable sources of power are set to replace fossil fuels - in line with countries' commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Sasol has a 70-year history of innovation, beneficiating natural resources and producing hydrogen. Sasol can use its existing assets to produce green hydrogen.

Apart from working with Toyota, it is also part of a consortium working to produce green aviation fuels. "Sasol feels this is the right time to tap into hydrogen potential to realise clean and affordable energy," said Fleetwood.

Hydrogen mobility mainly presents opportunities to decarbonise sectors that depend on heavy-duty and long-haul transport and mining and others, he explained. "One of our focus areas is to provide a comprehensive and sustainable mobility solution," he said. This includes establishing refuelling and charging infrastructure needed for hydrogen-electric vehicles.

"We see the creation of hydrogen hubs or ecosystems as a practical or affordable way to scale deployment of hydrogen in the transport sector," Fleetwood said.

He said Sasol has partnered with Toyota SA to develop a "proof of concept demonstration" for a green hydrogen mobility ecosystem. 

"Together with Toyota, we intend to develop a hydrogen mobility corridor." The corridor will be tested along the N3 - between Johannesburg and Durban - as it is one of the main freight corridors.

The project has commenced with the sourcing of fuel cell electric trucks and there is an evaluation of the installation of hydrogen refuelling stations for demonstration, Fleetwood said. "The demonstration will proceed as soon as various elements of the supply chain are available."

Sasol is willing to partner with other stakeholders to expand the initiative, as it would also give the industry "first-hand" knowledge of the impact of hydrogen fuelling station, it will introduce hydrogen-powered heavy-duty trucks to the supply chain and will help develop an understanding of the commercial drivers underpinning the hydrogen mobility value chain.

Toyota SA CEO Andrew Kirby, who also attended the event, noted the project and said it would go a long way to establish a hydrogen ecosystem and lead to infrastructure investments and demand.

Toyota has three fuel cell electric vehicles it plans to pilot in South Africa - targeted at the passenger market, the bus and heavy-duty truck market. Kirby noted the importance of partnerships to enable it.

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