The two companies announced the plan at an event this week organised by EE Business Intelligence and the British High Commission to South Africa, titled ‘2nd Renewable Hydrogen and Green Powerfuels Webinar for South Africa’.
The parties intend to develop a mobility corridor and expand the demonstration to a pilot project using one of South Africa’s main freight corridors, the N3 route between the coastal city of Durban, where most of the country’s imports arrive in containers, to the economic hub of Johannesburg.
Although the project organisers have determined that the most appropriate way to develop this venture would be to introduce fuel cell trucks onto South African roads, there is currently no such vehicle available in South Africa.
A prototype is currently under development in Japan, with Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) having started negotiations with its mother company to import one to South Africa as soon as they become available.
Sasol, which has a number of filling stations along the route, will be responsible for the installation of a hydrogen refuelling station for the demonstration project.
The partners said that key to the success of the project would be the involvement of other companies and stakeholders along the hydrogen mobility value chain.
“Our partnership with Toyota, which will include other partners over time, aims to build a sustainable end-to-end infrastructure for hydrogen mobility, initially focused on piloting the concept,” said Fleetwood Grobler, Sasol President and CEO.
Andrew Kirby, President and CEO of TSAM, said the partnership would also create the environment for others to get involved in the hydrogen mobility value chain, thereby making a sustainable contribution to the South African economy.
“We are excited about the partnership with Sasol, which we hope will assist in scaling up investment in critical infrastructure such as charging stations and the fuel itself,” said Kirby.
“We believe hydrogen mobility is a real opportunity for the country to decarbonise the sectors of long-haul and heavy-duty transport, mining and others and see the creation of hydrogen hubs, or ecosystems, as a practical and affordable way to scale up the deployment of hydrogen in the transport sector,” Grobler said.
No timeframe has been given for the project.