The Anonymous Widower

Proudly South African Hydrogen Breakthrough With Shell’s Backing

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly.

This is the introductory paragraph.

At this time of huge coronavirus uncertainty, the chests of a group of engineers here must surely be bulging with pride following their major Proudly South African world breakthrough that could speed up the global deployment of hydrogen as a competitive universal and environment-friendly energy carrier.

I think it got a bit jumbled in the typing.

Reading the article it does seem that various developments are coming together in South Africa.

  • A much simple electrolyser to produce hydrogen.
  • South Africa’s platinum for catalysts.
  • Large amounts of renewable energy.

The aim is to produce hydrogen at a comparable price with petrol.

This paragraph stands out.

South Africa has the combined solar and wind potential to produce competitive hydrogen, which can meet the world’s new environmental requirements.

The article talks about exporting hydrogen to Japan.


South Africa is a country that needs all the good news it can get.

This looks like it could be some of the best.

But how many other hot countries can take advantage of what looks like a breakthrough in the electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen for a fuel?

March 31, 2020 - Posted by | World | , , ,


  1. Does the water need to be fresh water or can sea water be electrolysed?

    If it needs to be fresh water it will put extra demands on fresh water supplies, which are already tight worldwide, or there will be a lot of energy loss in desalination by reverse osmosis

    Risk that this would be a bit like the last great hope for renewable portable fuels, bioethanol/biodiesel potentially

    Comment by MilesT | March 31, 2020 | Reply

  2. When you consider that ICI and now INEOS electrolyse the best Cheshire brine to make hydrogen and chlorine at Runcorn, I don’t think the quality of water matters.

    I also think the article indicated that you can use the techniques to desalinate water.

    I wonder, if there are applications for hydrogen in the smelting of metals. Replacing things like coke would cut the emissions of carbon dioxide.

    If I remember my O level chemistry correctly, hydrogen is a reducing agent that can convert metal oxides into the metal. Do you remember the carbon block experiment, where mercury oxide was converted into a small ball of mercury using a blow tourch, to show how carbon was a reducing agent?

    Comment by AnonW | March 31, 2020 | Reply

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