South African science minister plans visit to Japan to boost cooperation in hydrogen technologies

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The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, will lead a delegation to Tokyo, Japan, next week as part of efforts to build a hydrogen economy in South Africa.  The engagements will profile the work of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) in hydrogen energy, and promote collaboration, investment and innovation in support of the deployment of hydrogen at scale as envisaged in the Hydrogen Society Roadmap for South Africa.

The roadmap, launched by the DSI in 2022, is a national coordinating framework to facilitate the integration of hydrogen-related technologies in various sectors of the South African economy, a vital part of stimulating economic growth in line with the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. The establishment of a manufacturing sector for hydrogen products and components is one of the roadmap's key outcomes.

The engagements in Japan will start on 25 September 2023, with Minister Nzimande and the delegation participating in the Tokyo GX Week Plenary Session. The GX Plenary is hosted by Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Yasutoshi Nishimura, as part of the Tokyo GX Week 2023.

Tokyo GX Week aims to accelerate efforts towards net zero emissions. The programme of international meetings related to energy and the environment aims to achieve green transformation (GX), moving countries away from fossil fuel-dependent economic, social and industrial structures towards clean energy that will lead to economic growth and development as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

The Minister will also address the 6th Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting, which will be attended by ministers and world leaders in the energy and environment fields, in both the private and the public sectors.

On September 26, the DSI will host a South Africa-Japan workshop in collaboration with the Japan External Trade Organisation. The aim of the workshop is for South African and Japanese entities to discuss putting together a large-scale demonstration project on hydrogen.

Minister Nzimande and Mr Nishimura are expected to sign a memorandum of cooperation between the DSI and METI to facilitate cooperation on developing a sustainable and affordable hydrogen and ammonia supply chain.  The two countries have a shared recognition that this is key to achieving net zero emissions.

The engagements will continue until 27 September.

South Africa and Japan have a longstanding relationship and common interests in science, technology and innovation (STI). Bilateral cooperation in STI between the two countries has been growing steadily since the two countries concluded an agreement on STI in 2003.

This article was first published on 26 September by South Africa Department of Science & Innovation. 

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