July 25, 2024
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South Africa’s Green Energy Transition Receives Boost

South Africa’s strive to embrace green and renewable energy sources has received a notable advancement with the recent discovery of natural hydrogen gas in Hendrina, Mpumalanga, by a team of researchers from the University of Pretoria. 

This breakthrough follows months of extensive field data collection across various parts of the province’s highveld region.

Natural hydrogen, recognized as a renewable energy source, presents a cost-effective means of extraction without emitting harmful emissions. 

Associate Professor Adam Bumby, specializing in Geology at the University of Pretoria, elaborated on the discovery, stating, “Geologists have observed shallow depressions in the ground that contain hydrogen. 

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“We hypothesized that areas like the pans in Mpumalanga might also hold hydrogen deposits, given their similar characteristics in shape and size. 

“Through our fieldwork last year, we confirmed a significant presence of hydrogen in the soil adjacent to the pans.”

Bumby further emphasized the potential of hydrogen as a renewable energy source to bolster the national energy budget and alleviate the country’s energy crisis. 

“While the electricity generated may not be substantial, it can power lights and a few appliances. The key advantage lies in its cost-free and renewable nature. Hydrogen production entails minimal expenses beyond the initial borehole, and it is environmentally friendly, producing water instead of CO2 when burned,” he explained.

Students pursuing Geology Masters at the University of Pretoria, who actively participated in the research, expressed gratitude for their involvement in this groundbreaking endeavour. 

They anticipate significant benefits for surrounding communities stemming from this discovery.

While the exact quantity of hydrogen gas in the area remains uncertain, Bumby remains optimistic about the potential for additional hydrogen deposits as further exploration delves deeper into the earth’s surface. 

This discovery marks a pivotal step towards South Africa’s sustainable energy transition, offering promising prospects for cleaner and more accessible energy sources in the future.


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