Sasol and ArcelorMittal South Africa have partnered to develop carbon capture technology to produce sustainable fuels, chemicals, and green steel production through green hydrogen and derivatives.
Under a joint development agreement (JDA), they will advance studies into two potential projects. The Saldanha green hydrogen and derivatives study will explore the region’s potential as an export hub for green hydrogen and derivatives and green steel production. The Vaal carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) study uses renewable electricity and green hydrogen to convert captured carbon from ArcelorMittal South Africa’s Vanderbijlpark’s steel plant into sustainable fuels and chemicals.
In addition, Sasol signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Freeport Saldanha Industrial Development Zone to develop a globally competitive green hydrogen hub and ecosystem within Saldanha Bay.
Both initiatives have the potential for ArcelorMittal South Africa to be the first African green flat steel producer using green hydrogen to produce direct reduced iron (DRI) via the Midrex facility at its Saldanha Works (which is presently under care and maintenance) while also reducing the carbon footprint of its flagship Vanderbijlpark Works.
The Vaal Triangle in South Africa has been home to fossil fuel-based industrial operations that have been crucial to the country’s economic development, supporting many livelihoods through job creation and contribution to the country’s GDP. Many of the assets in these operations can pivot to sustainable operations.
The Vaal CCU study will explore using up to 1.5 million tonnes a year of unavoidable industrial CO2 captured from ArcelorMittal South Africa’s Vanderbijlpark Works. The CO2 is envisaged to be transported to the Sasolburg and Ekandustria operating facilities in Sasolburg and, together with green hydrogen, will eventually replace natural gas as a feedstock to produce sustainable chemical products.
The two potential projects will drive the re-industrialisation of both the Saldanha and the Vaal regions, seeding the opportunity to develop a green hydrogen ecosystem, thereby enabling long-term, sustainable benefits for communities and the country. They are expected to provide a significant number of jobs, infrastructure investment and skills development in the country, thus enabling a Just Transition.
Priscillah Mabelane, EVP for Sasol’s Energy Business, said, “We are very excited to be leading the pre-feasibility and feasibility studies on these two potential projects that hold promise to unlock South Africa’s potential to be a global green hydrogen and derivatives player.”
Kobus Verster, CEO of ArcelorMittal South Africa, said, “These potential projects are an important kick-start to our decarbonisation journey and create an exciting opportunity to contribute to the South African government’s aspirations to transition to a green economy.”
Joanne Bate, COO of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), said, “As government’s hydrogen economy development and commercialisation champion, the IDC supports sector linkages like this that are critical to realising South Africa’s ambition to develop the green hydrogen economy.”