Sasol, Toyota develop South African green hydrogen project

Sasol Ltd. plans to develop the use of green hydrogen by fuel cell vehicles on a major South African freight route as the company examines ways to lower its own emissions.

Along with partner Toyota Motor Corp., it intends to develop a pilot project – using a key highway such as the N3 running between Durban and Johannesburg – for heavy-duty, long-haul vehicles powered by hydrogen, Sasol said in a statement Wednesday. Toyota expects to introduce a prototype truck, currently being developed in Japan, as soon as it’s available.

Sasol, a top emitter of greenhouse gases in South Africa, is working toward a 2030 target to reduce emissions from its operations by at least 10 per cent from 2017 levels. Apart from initiatives around green hydrogen, it’s also part of a record procurement of renewable energy and is exploring the production of cleaner aviation fuel.

Hydrogen is being considered for Sasol’s existing operations, the Toyota partnership and potentially for export, Sasol chief executive officer Fleetwood Grobler said in an interview. Those plans and other initiatives to lower emissions are at an early stage, he said.

“You need to start with proof of concept,” Grobler said.

Toyota’s joint-venture with Sasol could help scale up investment in critical infrastructure such as charging stations and the fuel itself, Andrew Kirby, CEO of the automaker’s local business, said in the statement. The company in 2014 introduced the Mirai, the world’s first commercialized hydrogen fuel cell electric sedan, he said.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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