South Africa’s efforts to switch to green and renewable energy have received a major boost.

This was after a team of researchers from the University of Pretoria discovered natural hydrogen gas in Hendrina, Mpumalanga.

The discovery was made after several months of field data collection in various parts of the province’s highveld region.

Natural hydrogen is considered to be a source of renewable energy that is cheap to extract. It does not emit emissions.

The University of Pretoria Associate Professor in Geology, Adam Bumby says, “Geologists have been noticing that you get these shallow depressions in the ground that are hydrogen bearing.

Our thought was that areas like the pans in Mpumalanga maybe they are hydrogen-bearing as well. They are very similar in shape and size.

So we came out here last year with the hydrogen meter and drilled a series of very shallow holes and yeah, there is a significant elevation in hydrogen values that come out of the soil immediately adjacent to the pans in Mpumalanga”.

Green Hydrogen transformation process with Dr Phil Mjwara Bumby further explained how hydrogen could be a source of renewable energy that could contribute to the national energy budget and help address the energy crisis in the country.

“It’s not a huge amount of electricity, It powers some lights, and a fridge or two but nevertheless that energy is free.

That electricity is produced with no costs other than the original borehole and it’s renewable.

The hydrogen just keeps coming up through that borehole. And of course in non-polluting. When hydrogen burns it doesn’t produce that CO2 that goes into the atmosphere.

It produces water and its electricity that local communities can use,” Bumby said.
Geology Masters students from the university who are among the researchers say they are grateful to have taken part in this groundbreaking exercise.

They say surrounding communities will benefit from this discovery.

Bumby believes that although it is still early to tell the exact amount of hydrogen gas that is present in the area, they are hopeful that more deposits of hydrogen will be found as they drill deeper into the earth’s surface.

Green Hydrogen Summit | Concerns about human, environmental and resource impact: