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Opportunity Issue 103

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Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).


MINING AND POWER At Iduapriem Mine in Ghana, AngloGold Ashanti is testing a gas-hybrid haul truck as part of its plans to reduce emissions. Hydrogen and Africa Some estimates put the continent’s potential for renewable power generation of at 1 475GW, but with most rivers untapped and almost endless supplies of strong sunshine and steady wind, it is difficult to put a figure to the real opportunity that exists to generate power from natural resources. Some big projects hold massive potential. As listed by African Energy Week (AEW), such projects include the 6 450MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia, the 580MW Noor Ouarzazate Solar complex in Morocco and the 310MW Lake Turkana wind farm in Kenya. AEW points out that developments on this scale “could be used to create competitive green hydrogen markets”. A structure has been created for the development of hydrogen on the continent, the African Hydrogen Partnership Trade Association (AHP), which is incorporated as a non-profit company in Mauritius. The AHP argues that Africa is uniquely well-suited to achieve a green hydrogen technology revolution because: the region is not locked into old energy technologies; African governments have the power and flexibility to kickstart such a development in a very short time; national hydrogen energy plans can be developed from scratch in the region; African governments are already proactively and decisively supporting environmental policies (Ethiopia’s green policies, for example); there are unlimited natural resources for producing low-cost green electricity and green hydrogen; and a rapidly-growing, young population demands innovative green energy concepts. AHP wants to see power-to-gas renewable energy hubs all over the continent. The AHP website states: “The first hydrogen economies will begin with construction of large-scale P2G renewable energy facilities for exporting green hydrogen or hubs along important trans-African highways. They’ll also be built in ports, where hydrogen stations will provide fuel for long-haul heavy-goods vehicles (HGVs), buses and trains powered by hydrogen fuel cells.” The global hydrogen economy will achieve annual global revenues of .5-trillion by 2050, according to the Hydrogen Council, with demand expected to go beyond 500-million tons by the same year. The great thing is that hydrogen is everywhere and all it takes is the process to separate oxygen from hydrogen in water – electrolysis. The “supermajors” in the oil industry (BP, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and TotalEnergies, by The Economist’s reckoning) have started investing in “hydrogen clusters and technologies”. Green hydrogen company Air Products will spend -billion on a renewable hydrogen project in Saudi Arabia, a sign of the times if ever there was one. Toyota South Africa and Sasol are investigating a “mobility corridor” whereby long-haul trucks powered by fuel cells would be able to replenish their power along the way. The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) has a chief director of hydrogen and energy. The Industrial Development Corporation is mandated by national government to champion the commercialisation of the green hydrogen economy. A hydrogen strategy was compiled for the country as far back as 2008, the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Research, Development and Innovation strategy. Three hubs are planned to create a Hydrogen Valley which will stretch from the metals-rich Bushveld area through the country’s industrial and commercial heartland to two of the continent’s busiest ports in Richards Bay and Durban. It is envisaged as a means of kickstarting the hydrogen industry in South Africa. The other two hubs are Johannesburg and Richards Bay. Demand at the Limpopo end of the corridor will be driven by trucks used in the mining industry and along the busy N1 highway. Current users of hydrogen in the Johannesburg area will be expected to switch to green hydrogen and green hydrogen will also be used as feedstock substitution for ethylene production and fuel, and as catalyst for iron and steel, in public buildings and buses. Future private-building demand is expected. At Richards Bay Port there is potential to export green hydrogen and use it as a fuel for port functions. Trucks using the N3 could be another market. The Hydrogen Valley concept is being researched and developed by a collaboration that includes the Department of Science and Innovation, the South African National Development Institute (SANEDI), Anglo American, Bambili Energy and ENGIE. A 2021 feasibility report suggests that -billion could be added to South Africa’s GDP if the valley were successfully implemented, with an additional tax revenue of about 0-million. The Tshikondeni solar PV plant in northern Limpopo is run by Cennergi, a subsidiary of resources company Exxaro. Credit: Cennergi

ANALYTICAL SERVICES New laboratory holds great promise Respected analysis company set to expand services into the water sector. Umzamo Analytical Services (UAS) has a stellar reputation for offering accurate coal analysis and sampling. Since 2012, the company has signed up a string of blue-chip clients and become a reliable service provider in the coal industry. The wintry weather weather could not take the excitement out of the air in eMalahleni in July 2022 when UAS unveiled its latest new, state-of-the-art laboratory. Increased capacity will allow the company not only to offer more services in the sectors to which it already caters, but to expand into the water sector, where the need for accurate analysis is so vital. Among its facilities, Umzamo Analytical Services also has an accredited chemical laboratory at Sasol, Twistdraai Export Plant. For promixate and ultimate analysis of coal, pinpoint accuracy is required and UAS believes that it has the Big Three required to provide that sort of analysis, namely: • High-quality equipment • Top accreditation credentials • Decades of experience among experienced staff. The newly-opened laboratory’s inventory includes advanced new technologies such as Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP), Atomic Absorption and Emission Spectrometers and XRF. These machines and techniques will allow UAS to offer a wider range of services to the mining sector and beyond. The company sees the establishment of the new laboratory as a testimony to the collaboration of companies in the mining sector and UAS as a company providing services to that sector. The company is South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) approved, which includes ISO 17025 for laboratory management as well as ISO and ASTM methods for coal sampling and analysis – the highest international quality standards that can be attained. The scope of accreditation has eight coal analytical methods. This also applies to the on-site laboratory at Overlooked Colliery and these standards are benchmarked with the world’s best. The laboratories offer the following analytical services: • Total moisture • Moisture in analysis sample • Ash content The finishing touches being put to UAS’s technologically-advanced analytic laboratory. • Volatile matter • Fixed carbon • Calorific value • Total sulphur • Carbon • Hydrogen • Phosphorous • Swelling Index • Ash fusion temperature • Abrasive Index Projects UAS has a highly-skilled and experienced team in multiple disciplines that can assist in projects that include the following: • Commissioning and management of coal-testing laboratories • Plant bias tests • Plant efficiency testing • Implementation of quality management systems (ISO 17025) • Training on laboratory quality management (ISO 17025) • Third-party monitoring, certification of consignments • UAS has gained a reputation for the competent and timely delivery of laboratory results in the coal-mining sector. About UAS Coal Lab is a coal analysis and sampling company based in Emalahleni offering coal sampling and analysis services to a wide array of companies in the energy and coal industry. Founded in 2012, UAS has worked on many coal sampling and analysis projects for a number of major players in the energy industry. | 19

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