2022 CPD accredited courses by Engineers for Africa

COURSES AVAILABLE in First Half 2022.

All courses are live, on-line and extend over 2 days.
Courses are not Webinars and are Fees based. 
IMPORTANT: - Extended Notes on each of the Courses follow.

All courses include:
a. Interesting pre-reading material is sent to attendees normally 2 days prior to the start.
b. Full course materials are emailed ahead to you for the course and your personal library.

c. Video links through Microsoft Teams still enable samples of products to be shown.
d. The Course framework is sent to attendees as an Excel Document enabling easy tracking.
e. Workshops which include case studies and worked examples are interspersed with tea and lunch breaks and all materials are sent ahead to attendees for these exercises.
f. A Certificate of Attendance with CPD points reflected is provided at the end of the event.
g. All courses carry 2 CPD points.

COURSES
1. On-line Course: Knowledge Management, Communication and Report Writing.
Includes sub-courses on Experts-Rating and The 4th Industrial Revolution.
2-3 February 2022.

2. On-line Course: Multi-variable Problems in Engineering (Analysis, Solution and Control).
Includes sub-courses on Master Workplace Economics & Extreme Variables (Fires, Explosions).
16-17 March 2022, 14-15 June 2022.     

3. On-line Course: Design of Vessels, Tanks and Piping.
Includes sub-courses on Design for Corrosion, Design-Bellows, Temperature-Pressure Ratings.
16-17 February 2022, 4-5 May 2022.

 4. On-line Course: Design of Pumping Systems. 
Includes sub-courses on Vessel-Basics, Design of Drives, VSDs, PLCs, Design of Seals, Bellows.
9-10 March 2022, 8-9 June 2022.
     

5. On-line Course: Design of Process Systems.
Includes sub-courses on Workplace Economics, Design of Batches, Design of Installations.
30-31 March 2022, 22-23 June 2022.    

6. On-line Course: Design of Materials.
Includes sub-courses on Materials-Economics, Experts-Rating, New Materials Trends.
13-14 April 2022.

7. On-line Course: Engineering Design as Creativity, Innovation and Value Adding.
Includes sub-courses on Imagineering, Experts-Rating, Analysis of Constraints.
23-24 February 2022, 18-19 May 2022.

8. On-line Course: Design of Piping Systems.
Includes sub-courses on Corrosion, Design-Bellows, Temperature-Pressure Ratings.
9-10 February 2022, 11-12 May 2022.

Engineers for Africa is renowned for the excellent and extensive case studies and worked examples we provide. These are unmatched in their range, relevance to the courses, and relevance to all the African workplaces.    

Standard Fees Rates are R4400 plus VAT for the full 2-day CPD Courses.
Quantity discounts are available for group attendances or multiple bookings paid in advance

For more information or to make your booking, contact John Broli at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COURSE DETAILS

1. On-line Course: Knowledge Management, Communication & Report Writing

ECSA CPD Accreditation. Credits: 2 – CPD Reference number: SAIChE-384. Updated 2022.

E4A addresses knowledge management with respect to current rapid change, complexity and the importance of current knowledge expansion. These topics are introduced as a lead-in to the key topics of communication and report writing. We address approaches to communication and technical report writing with an overview to important fundamentals such as audience analysis, needs statements, target markets, bias and vested interests, impacts on communication and matters such as attention markers or lead-ins to many communications and other report writing requirements. The course then presents analytical tools (system analyses, scope analyses, information analyses) to use in the importance of thorough background analysis for good professional technical reports. There is also analysis of how information can be better presented and the hazards of poor presentation especially in spreadsheets and graphical analyses.

Further course content covers types of reports, types of styles and matters of report content.

Important guidelines, rules and good practices for each of the communication and report modes are then presented and discussed. Attendees will also develop and enhance their presentations, reports and overall communication skills. The expectations of the coming 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) to control processes with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Advanced Instrumentation and BIG DATA analyses are then debated and the need to complete the 3rdIR.

MAIN OBJECTIVES

The main objective is to improve technical communication and writing skills of the attendees, thus providing enhanced communication of emails, and technical records and procedures. The course also sets out to provide a sound understanding of the nature of knowledge and information and the dominant role it plays in all communication in modern economies.

Economic benefits are achieved through reduction of errors and miscommunications in the workplace and thus improved control of processes and operations.  

 

2. On-line Course: Multi-variable Problems in Engineering (Analysis, Solution and Control).

ECSA CPD Accreditation. Credits: 2 – CPD Reference number: SAIChE-366. Updated 2022.

E4A has accumulated a wealth of information on the multi-variable problems that impact on modern process operations and control thereof.  Most modern processes are complex in nature and becoming increasingly so with every year that passes. This course first takes a look at the meaning and implications of complexity for variables control. After explaining a very broad viewpoint on the range of variables and variables interactions, this course addresses the need to understand the effect variables can have on processes and thus the high risks to profit loss and deterioration. There is a brief but appropriate training on the real cost of failed batches as rework or disposal costs to give context to the need for a total RIGHT FIRST TIME (RFT) philosophy.

The course thoroughly addresses the need to ensure proper detailed monitoring of all variables and the lock-in or fixing of variables through appropriate procedures – to in turn build up the RFT commitment. A range of industries are reviewed through case studies from the Southern African region. These case studies deal with basic variables problems and are thus at levels all staff can absorb and relate to.

This course is designed to guide and train attendees on the process of detailed research and review of every variable that can impact on a design, or process, or plant upgrade, and to draw up a systems diagram and Excel spreadsheet summary of the total variables in the system analysed. The participants are then directed to study the critical variables and propose solutions from the in-depth problem analysis performed. 

MAIN OBJECTIVES

The main objective is to build up skills of attendees in determining all variables in a system and especially highlighting the critical variables. The control methods and problem solving around critical variables is addressed under the non-conformance monitoring and removal system.

Economic benefits are achieved through process improvements that lead to energy or materials savings and tighter control of processes. The benefits arise especially from the control and enhancement of the critical variables identified.   

 

3. On-line Course: Design of Vessels, Tanks and Piping. Updated for 2022.

ECSA CPD Accreditation. Credits: 2 – CPD Reference number: SAIChE-383

The popular, unique and information packed course to enable those involved in design, projects and plant operations to analyse and design a range of process vessels, tanks and pipes in greater detail – thus achieving more cost-efficient and effective complete engineering designs aligned with each process requirement.

The vessel function and main design requirements are analysed through advanced systems, scoping, information and risk analytical methods. Each of the main materials types that can be applied in vessels designs are addressed in turn. Steels, Stainless Steels and Exotic Steels, Thermoplastics and Thermosets (Fibreglass), and Steel Plastic-lined Vessels are the main materials groupings evaluated. Applicable standards are addressed for each material and the critical variables in total design are fully addressed. Pressure Vessels are also addressed in a special sub-section. Hazardous Processes are discussed and attendees are introduced to the relevant design standards for hazards products.

The final summary is prepared as a series of DESIGN STAGES OR STEPS in a master chart with control checklists and the appropriate design standards and design limitations are discussed and finalized. Interesting and unusual case studies are also presented.

MAIN OBJECTIVES

A range of competencies are enhanced including use of engineering design and contextual judgement, developing knowledge-based engineering problem-solving, and other key design practices. The main objective is to widen knowledge of the materials choices in design of vessels and enable engineers to do the first level, or basic design of vessels, tank and piping before procuring the final detailed design from professional specialist suppliers or design consultants.

Economic benefits are achieved through the evaluation of different materials and assessing the most effective materials for the given process variables, service needs and potential hazards.

 
4. On-line Course: Design of Pumping Systems. Updated for 2022.

ECSA CPD Accreditation. Credits: 2 – CPD Reference number: SAIChE-369

This popular, unique and information packed course to enable those involved in design, projects and plant operations to analyse and design a range of pumping systems in greater detail – thus achieving more cost-efficient and effective complete engineering designs aligned with each process requirement.

This course provides first overviews the range of pumps available and then addresses all the technical points of pump design such as piping hydraulics, pump sizing, pump curves, NPSH and how a pump’s operation is reflected in the curves. A solid presentation of all pump design parameters including seals is presented. Special pump types are then addressed and reviewed, covering plastic pumps, chemical service steel shrouded pumps, chemical service sump pumps, diaphragm pumps and other services, such as magnetic driven pumps.

The assessment of pipe layouts and the conditions of the pump operation (such as water hammer, pump sparing and others) are followed through to a detailed selection of the pump

for the relevant service.

There are also some sub-courses that are always added such as bellows design and corrosion as materials selection parameters - to broaden the course and provide the full pump system design considerations.

MAIN OBJECTIVES

The main objective is to develop skills of attendees to approach pump designs as a total systems design including vessel drain connections, piping systems and control circuits such as VSD and PLC designs. Attendees are also guided to include key components such as check valves, filter systems and bellows to protect against water hammer and other systems mechanical loading.

Economic benefits are achieved through optimization of the total pumping system and power savings from specialised VSD and PLC control systems.   

 

5. On-line Course: Design of Process Systems. Updated for 2022.

ECSA CPD Accreditation. Credits: 2 – CPD Reference number: SAIChE-368

A new information rich course to enable those involved in plant operations, general design, and projects to analyse, design and select equipment appropriate for a total systems approach and a range of liquid-liquid or solid-solid processes or other blends. 

This course first shows how the best approach is treating process design as a total system of process equipment, pumps, pipes and storage or process vessels. These components (the equipment) are considered as sub-systems of the total system being analysed.
Special mills, reactors, agitators, filters and other equipment such as pipes and pumps are then addressed and reviewed, covering liquid-liquid services, powder services and other services.  

There are also some sub-courses that are always added such as motor drive systems (including VSDs), platform design and corrosion as materials selection parameters - to broaden the course and provide the full sub-systems design considerations.

The equipment designs and thus selection is analysed through the E4A advanced systems, scoping, information and risk analytical methods. Important variables critical to equipment designs are also thoroughly evaluated. The final scope is prepared with control checklists and the appropriate and available design bases are discussed and selected. Interesting and unusual case studies are also presented.

MAIN OBJECTIVES  

The lead objective is to develop skills of approaching process systems as a total design system. 
E4A focuses on key approaches to the total process design, points of critical importance and prior recorded failures, and thus serves to make the attendees aware of the wider but important considerations of equipment types and design of complete process systems.

Economic benefits are achieved by optimization of the total design of each process system.

  

6. On-line Course: Design of Materials. Updated for 2022.

MATERIALS IN DESIGN - PROCESSES, PROPERTIES, PERFORMANCES

ECSA CPD Accreditation. Credits: 2 – CPD Reference number: SAIChE-380

E4A has a wide-ranging content of engineering materials information and provides a course covering selection of materials in a series of services such as engineering parts and equipment designs. The course covers selected applications in various processes, important materials properties and key details of manufacturing and assembly that should be carefully considered for successful long-term performance life in service. This course is thus to be considered as a broad-based overview of selection and design of materials for practical and reliable in-plant services. 

It is not possible to address every point of material selection and design in service, but E4A focuses on key approaches to the designs, points of critical importance and prior recorded failures, and thus serves to make the attendees aware of the wider but important considerations of each material and standard. The use of industry standards and ratings of institutes (such as API for rating of pipes) - both metal and plastic and the service conditions to which the nominal coding applies - are a special and interesting sub-section addressed.

Each year there are new materials developments added and in the 2021 edition we have also added content on the new E4A approach termed GREY INNOVATION. This leads on to savings and profit leverage that can be achieved through deeper understanding of design benefits from application of Grey Innovation design concepts. We take you through the simplified but very effective workplace economics models that E4A has developed.

Economic benefits are achieved by optimization of the total design of each material system.
We strive through our course examples and case studies to drive the economic payback.

 

7. On-line Course: Engineering Design as Creativity, Innovation and Value Adding. Updated for 2022. Includes sub-courses on Imagineering, Experts-Rating, Analysis of Constraints.

ECSA CPD Accreditation. Credits: 2 – CPD Reference number: SAIChE-381. 

A new and interesting course to enhance creative developments and innovative ideas in all fields of engineering. There is something of a dire need for creative work in Africa and it is important to see the possibilities in the right perspective. The course first addresses the thought processes of the human mind and the sub-conscious mind to point out the first level of important constraints from human biases and illusions and then addresses an interesting, focussed summary of thinking processes from global leaders in these studies.
A main topic of review is counter-intuitive thinking as so much of big science (Einstein, Planck) innovation and engineering is counter-intuitive (CI) and a lot of CI thinking has pointed the way to seeking opportunities for innovation and importantly value adding. Prior times have seen much CI research work done under the auspices of E4A and associate companies and CI is thus used as a main sector of case studies for this course.

Du Pont was also an associate of E4A and E4A predecessors and a short course on their awards program is also addressed to use as illustrations of innovative work.

The IChemE program titled – Chemical Engineering Matters will also be shared.

An overview of intellectual property (IP) – its nature, value & limitations will be presented.

This course also provides an analysis of constraints from marketing, cost of development, human needs focus and energy optimisation.

The concluding sessions will address a range of developments that overcame hurdles and these will be used to direct effort in future workplaces.

MAIN OBJECTIVES 

The lead objective is to develop skills amongst attendees to seek out opportunities that can be applied in the African workplace to add value to African companies and benefit economies on many fronts. Much emphasis will be placed on avoiding excessive constraints and keeping an open mind to drive new business opportunities and achieve real value-add.  

Economic benefits are achieved through break-through new processes and products.


8. On-line Course: Design of Piping Systems. Updated for 2022.

ECSA CPD Accreditation. Credits: 2 – CPD Reference number: SAIChE-382.

This new Course covers an interesting range of pipe selection details and presents various piping system types for a range of industries and applications. This information packed course enables those involved in design, projects and plant operations to assess the design requirements of various pipeline systems for a range of services from water to highly corrosive systems and judge the materials suitable for each application. The range of services is also considered from the perspective of pressure pipe services, steam services and special installation design details – thus achieving more cost-efficient and effective complete engineering designs aligned with each process requirement.

The piping systems are also analysed through special systems, scoping, information and risk analytical methods. Each of the main materials types that can be applied in piping designs are addressed in turn. Steels, Stainless Steels and Exotic Steels, Thermoplastics and Thermosets (Fibreglass), and Steel Plastic-lined Piping are the main materials groupings evaluated. Applicable standards are addressed for each material and the critical variables in total design are fully addressed. Pressure Piping is also addressed in a special sub-section. Hazardous Processes are discussed and attendees are introduced to the relevant design standards for hazardous products.

The final summary is prepared as a series of DESIGN STAGES OR STEPS in a master chart with control checklists and the appropriate design limitations are discussed and finalized. Interesting and unusual case studies are also presented.

MAIN OBJECTIVES

A range of competencies are enhanced including use of engineering design and contextual judgement, developing knowledge and variable-based engineering problem-solving, and other key design practices. The main objective is to widen knowledge of the materials choices in design of piping and enable engineers to do the first level, or basic design of piping before procuring the final detailed design from professional specialist piping engineers or pipe design consultants.

Economic benefits are achieved through the evaluation of different materials and assessing the most effective materials for the given process variables, service needs and potential hazards. 

 

REGISTRATION FORM 2022 

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Kindly note full payment in advance is required for attendance.
TOTAL COST PER PERSON: R4400.00 (EXCL. VAT).  All programs are on-line.
For registered SAIChE, SAIMechE, SACI members: R4200.00 (EXCLUDING VAT) per attendee
Bulk rate for 3 or more Courses pp per annum:      R4000.00
(EXCLUDING VAT) per attendee
Bulk rate for 3 or more Attendees of 1 company:  R4000.00
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Antarctic bacteria using hydrogen as source of energy!

Antarctic bacteria live on air and make their own water using hydrogen as fuel.

Ian Hogg, Author provided

Pok Man Leung, Monash University; Chris Greening, Monash University, and Steven Chown, Monash University

Humans have only recently begun to think about using hydrogen as a source of energy, but bacteria in Antarctica have been doing it for a billion years.

We studied 451 different kinds of bacteria from frozen soils in East Antarctica and found most of them live by using hydrogen from the air as a fuel. Through genetic analysis, we also found these bacteria diverged from their cousins in other continents approximately a billion years ago.

These incredible microorganisms come from ice-free desert soils north of the Mackay Glacier in East Antarctica. Few higher plants or animals can prosper in this environment, where there is little available water, temperatures are below zero, and the polar winters are pitch-black.

Despite the harsh conditions, microorganisms thrive. Hundreds of bacterial species and millions of cells can be found in a single gram of soil, making for a unique and diverse ecosystem.

The freezing soil of Antarctica makes a surprising home for a diverse community of microbes that have adapted to life in the harsh conditions. Ian Hogg, Author provided

How do microbial communities survive in such punishing surroundings?

A dependable alternative to photosynthesis

We discovered more than a quarter of these Antarctic soil bacteria create an enzyme called RuBisCO, which is what lets plants use sunlight to capture carbon dioxide from air and convert it into biomass. This process, photosynthesis, generates most of the organic carbon on Earth.

However, we found more than 99% of the RuBisCO-containing bacteria were unable to capture sunlight. Instead, they perform a process called chemosynthesis.

Rather than relying on sunlight to power the conversion of carbon dioxide into biomass, they use inorganic compounds such as the gases hydrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide.

Living on air

Where do the bacteria find these energy-rich compounds? Believe it or not, the most reliable source is the air!

Air contains high levels of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide, but also trace amounts of the energy sources hydrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide.

They are only present in air in very low concentrations, but there is so much air it provides a virtually unlimited supply of these molecules for organisms that can use them.

And many can. Around 1% of Antarctic soil bacteria can use methane, and some 30% can use carbon monoxide.

More remarkably, our research suggests that 90% of Antarctic soil bacteria may scavenge hydrogen from the air.

Only a tiny fraction of air is hydrogen, but there’s so much air it makes an unlimited supply of fuel for bacteria that can harvest it. Ian Hogg, Author provided

The bacteria gain energy from hydrogen, methane and carbon by combining them with oxygen in a chemical process that is like a very slow kind of burning.

Our experiments showed the bacteria consume atmospheric hydrogen even at temperatures of -20°C, and they can consume enough to cover all their energy requirements.

What’s more, the hydrogen can power chemosynthesis, which may provide enough organic carbon to sustain the entire community. Other bacteria can access this carbon by “eating” their hydrogen-powered neighbours or the carbon-rich ooze they produce.

Water from thin air

When you burn hydrogen, or when the bacteria harvest energy from it, the only by-product is water.

Making water is an important bonus for Antarctic bacteria. They live in a hyper-arid desert, where water is unavailable because the surrounding ice is almost permanently frozen and any moisture in the soil is rapidly sucked out by the dry, cold air.

So the ability to generate water from “thin air” may explain how these bacteria have been able to exist in this environment for millions of years. By our calculations, the rates of hydrogen-powered water production are sufficient to rehydrate an entire Antarctic cell within just two weeks.

By adopting a “hydrogen economy”, these bacteria fulfil their needs for energy, biomass, and hydration. Three birds, one stone.

Could a hydrogen economy sustain extraterrestrial life?

The minimalist hydrogen-dependent lifestyle of Antarctic soil bacteria redefines our understanding of what is the very least required for life on Earth. It also brings new insights into the search for extraterrestrial life.

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, making up almost three-quarters of all matter. It is a major component of the atmosphere on some alien planets, such as HD 189733b which orbits a star 64.5 light-years from Earth.

If life were to exist on such a planet, where conditions may not be as hospitable as on much of Earth, consuming hydrogen might be the simplest and most dependable survival strategy.

“Follow the water” is the mantra for searches of extraterrestrial life. But given bacteria can literally make water from air, perhaps the key to finding life beyond Earth is to “follow the hydrogen”.The Conversation

Pok Man Leung, PhD candidate in Microbiology, Monash University; Chris Greening, Associate professor, microbiology, Monash University, and Steven Chown, Director, Securing Antarctica's Environmental Future, Monash University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Green hydrogen - A critical source of clean energy for Africa

Green hydrogen is a critical source of clean energy for Africa in the transition to net zero

Owing to the increased awareness of the threat of climate change, the world is experiencing a global energy transition from fossil fuels such as coal, to renewable sources such as solar.

The decarbonisation of global energy systems drives markets today, but in Africa, the energy landscape has been described as a paradox, because although the continent possesses abundant access to energy resources, especially solar and wind, more than half of its population still lacks access to energy.

The case for clean energy in Africa has never been more compelling as a result of increased demand due to the rapidly growing population, urbanisation, industrialisation and trade, among other factors.

Hydrogen, the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, has been touted as one of the resources that could play a major role in our future economies — particularly green hydrogen. Countries, including South Africa, have either recently developed or are now developing green hydrogen roadmaps to support the decarbonisation of their economies by 2030. Others include Germany, France, Japan, the US, Portugal and China.

South Africa goes into COP26 with the intention of being recognised as a country that can play its part in the global fight against climate change. The development of a green hydrogen economy is expected to be a significant enabler towards global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, not only in South Africa, but across the African continent.

Framework supporting the adoption of green hydrogen

British High Commissioner to South Africa, Nigel Casey, in his presentation at the Second Renewable Hydrogen and Green Powerfuels webinar in April 2021, asserted that in terms of mitigating the global effects of climate change, there is already a framework in place, the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, signed by 197 countries, including all African countries, thereby committing to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to limit global temperatures. Of those, 190 have hitherto solidified their support with formal approval.

The Paris Agreement has charted a new course in the effort to combat global climate change, requiring countries to make commitments and progressively strengthen them. The key imperative for countries is to deliver on the pledges therein. Most opportunities to realise these ambitions for a low carbon future lie with the private sector, Casey said.

South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation, for example, has been given the mandate to drive the commercialisation of the green hydrogen economy in the country by actively forging partnerships with the private sector to fund opportunities across the green hydrogen value chain.

Also at the webinar, South Africa’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, noted that the world is yet to meet its climate change goals as per the Paris Agreement. He said that green hydrogen (also referred to as “clean hydrogen”) can play a significant role in addressing the effects of climate change by helping to achieve global net-zero ambitions. Patel said a hydrogen economy could ensure a just transition by decarbonising a greater range of sectors than renewable electricity alone, thereby acting as the missing link to achieving net-zero by 2050.

The above sentiments have been echoed in subsequent iterations of the webinar, and similar forums, by stakeholders in the renewable energy sector, both domestically and internationally. Specifically, at the Third Renewable Hydrogen and Green Powerfuels webinar in June 2021, outgoing German Ambassador to South Africa Martin Schäfer expressed confidence that a just and sustainable energy transition will open up opportunities for South Africa to enhance economic growth, promote social wellbeing and social justice, and lead to a low carbon and sustainable future. He also stated that the development of green hydrogen is bound to establish South Africa as a powerhouse in energy transition.

In addition to the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are significant, as they consist of a call for action for countries to play their part in combating the climate concerns of today and protecting the planet for future generations. These broad and interdependent goals chart a way towards a sustainable future, with energy acting as a catalyst to achieving the SDGs.

Apart from SDG 7, which advocates for access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy, SDG 13 is particularly significant as it encourages all nations to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The case for green hydrogen

There is growing consensus that a decarbonisation path based on (quasi)-exclusivity on electricity networks (ie, an “electricity-only” model), is unrealistic and would be too costly. Therefore, it is necessary to incorporate hydrogen gas, as it is clean and affordable, to satisfy not only current global demand, but also the energy needs of future generations.

For South Africa, the country will inevitably adopt cleaner sources of energy as one of its key export commodities — coal — faces imminent collapse owing to the global energy transition. The government has identified the green hydrogen economy as a priority area to achieve a just and fair transition that prioritises inter alia, poverty reduction, job creation and climate resilience.

Hydrogen is of strategic importance to South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa, when responding to a debate that emanated from his most recent State of the Nation Address, highlighted the Hydrogen South Africa Strategy (HySA), stating that after a decade of research, the country is prepared to manufacture hydrogen fuel cells. South Africa is also moving away from fossil fuel technologies and embracing innovative renewable technology solutions such as finding storage for orthodox renewable energy such as solar and wind.

The growing momentum in the adoption of green hydrogen as a viable source of clean energy is largely attributed to the following factors:

First, the gradual decline in the cost of wind and solar energy has opened up the prospects for large-scale production of green hydrogen in countries such as South Africa that are well endowed in solar and wind energy, thereby ensuring that the production of green hydrogen is cost-effective.

Second, the acknowledgement that the world cannot decarbonise energy systems solely by enforcing green electricity — electricity derived from renewable sources — is another key influence. It is more efficient and cost-effective to achieve decarbonisation through hydrogen, which is also suitable for long-term and seasonal storage of renewable electricity.

Third, existing gas infrastructure can be leveraged to transport hydrogen, with limited adjustment and costs. In countries that have existing natural gas networks, hydrogen can also be blended (up to 15%-20%) in the gas grid, in a transitional phase, thereby significantly enhancing its potential.

Hydrogen plays a critical role in the world economy with application in the industrial, energy and transportation sectors, especially as the world becomes more reliant on renewables as its primary source of energy. With respect to the transportation sector, hydrogen is used across both the road and rail sectors as a result of the advancement of fuel cell technology. It also offers a simple decarbonisation alternative in the generation of heat and power within households, to provide alternatives to carbon-intensive diesel generators.

The use of hydrogen for industrial heat and chemical feedstock offers a plausible decarbonisation alternative for large scale-industrial heat users. Hydrogen is also used in the energy sector, as it can help solve the intermittent supply issues associated with renewable energy by utilising the electrolysis process to convert excess electricity into hydrogen during times of oversupply, which can then be used to generate power through either fuel cell or direct combustion in gas turbines when needed.

Furthermore, hydrogen can lower energy costs, increase the flexibility of power systems and facilitate the decarbonisation of industries. Apart from green hydrogen possessing the capacity to act as a long-term storage system for excess clean hydrogen, it would potentially cushion Africa from exposure, considering the threats of geopolitical and oil price volatility.

South Africa’s comparative advantage in green hydrogen

In February 2021, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) published a report on power fuels and green hydrogen which affirmed that due to South Africa’s vast wind and solar resources, the country has a comparative advantage in producing and exporting green hydrogen.

South Africa is also well-positioned for large-scale production of green hydrogen technology due to its large reserves of platinum group metals (PGMs) such as platinum and palladium. It is the world’s largest producer of PGMs, which are the main raw materials in the synthesis of catalysts, vital for the electrolysis process when producing green hydrogen. South Africa is already producing cost-effective catalysts because of the availability of PGMs, therefore the country can produce cheaper electrolysers than most other countries and export, not only hydrogen, but also electrolyser components, which tend to be costly.

Additionally, the country’s expertise and technical capabilities around the Fischer-Tropsch Process stand South Africa in good stead and is another major contributor to its comparative advantage in producing green hydrogen.

Despite South Africa’s potential to become a key player in the global green hydrogen economy, there are a number of challenges to large-scale production. Problems around its production, transport and storage have inhibited its growth as an alternative to fossil fuels. One of the key barriers to large-scale production is that there is little opportunity for independent power producers (IPPs) to contribute to production. This challenge arises because utility-scale IPP renewable energy projects are required to be dedicated to producing and selling power to Eskom, and are restricted from selling excess power to the national grid or to third parties.

Another challenge is that as a result of the acute water shortages in South Africa in recent years, the government is likely to prioritise achieving sustainable water resources for communities and the environment over the use of such water for the production of green hydrogen. It is estimated that to produce only one ton of hydrogen through electrolysis requires an average of nine tons of water. Although purifying water to be used for electrolysis is inexpensive, since most of the cost in desalination comes from the electrons, transporting it to the site of an electrolyser could be an impediment, as it is expensive and could pose logistical challenges.

Since the electrolysis process requires a location with access to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, electrolysers need to be located close to either a solar or wind farm, which may not be in close proximity to a water body, hence the costs for transportation. Additionally, a grid connection is required to wheel either from the solar or wind farm. It is therefore better to locate electrolysers close to hydrogen consumers, as transportation of hydrogen is expensive. These cost issues could be another hindrance to the large-scale production of green hydrogen in South Africa.

Conclusion

Pursuant to their commitments under the Paris Agreement, all countries will have to play their part in mitigating climate change, and this will affect the nature of trade, production and investment. Without investment in renewables, including green hydrogen technologies, achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 would be unrealistic.

For South Africa, continued support from the government in terms of putting in place appropriate policies and a conducive environment for investments is imperative to ensure a fair and just transition. With such factors in place, the fast-growing sustainable hydrogen economy could prove to be the missing link to not only achieving net zero, but to alleviating the access to energy constraints that South Africa and other countries throughout Africa face. OBP/DM

Kennedy Chege is a researcher and PhD candidate in Mineral Law in Africa in the law faculty at the University of Cape Town.

Absa OBP

This article first appeared on Daily Maverick and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-11-01-green-hydrogen-is-a-critical-source-of-clean-energy-for-africa-in-the-transition-to-net-zero/

HIG: New hydrogen storage material steps on the gas

by Anne M Stark,   

"Hydrogen is increasingly viewed as essential to a sustainable world energy economy because it can store surplus renewable power, decarbonize transportation and serve as a zero-emission energy carrier. However, conventional high-pressure or cryogenic storage pose significant technical and engineering challenges.

To overcome these challenges, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Sandia National Laboratories researchers have turned to  because they provide exceptional energy densities and can reversibly release and uptake  under relatively mild conditions. The research appears as a hot paper and back cover in the journal Angewandte Chemie..."