11 Dec 2023

Hive Hydrogen, Itochu Sign Co-op Memo on $5.8bn Coega Green Ammonia Export Project

11 Dec 2023  by miningweekly   
Hive Hydrogen South Africa chairperson Thulani Gcabashe and Itochu Africa Bloc CEO Shinya Ishizuka signing memorandum with Japan Ambassador Ushio Shigeru (top right) and Eastern Cape Premier’s office chief of staff Baphelele Mhlaba (top left).
JOHANNESBURG ( – Hive Hydrogen South Africa and Itochu Corporation of Japan have signed a memorandum of co-operation to advance Hive’s Coega green ammonia export project in South Africa's Eastern Cape province.

Itochu and Hive have agreed to work together on matters of viable green hydrogen and ammonia project development, production, operation, marketing, offtake and distribution.

Initially, the renewable energy capacity for the development will be around 3.6 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind generation, with further sites identified totalling more than 12 GW for additional phases of the project.

Once the project is operational, which is planned for 2028, the export from Coega of green ammonia, green hydrogen, and potentially also ammonium nitrate is expected.

The purpose of the memorandum of co-operation, signed at Nelson Mandela Stadium in Gqeberha, is to clearly identify the important areas for Hive and Itochu to engage on that will enable them each to achieve their respective green hydrogen and ammonia business objectives in a strategic, structured, assured, and cost-effective manner.

This provides a framework to develop a least cost green ammonia solution that includes, among other things, Itochu’s potential involvement as a strategic equity investor and offtaker in relation to the project.

Both parties recognise that the development of the project requires further technical, regulatory, and market development, including the engagement of key supply chain members and governments.

Itochu and Hive also agreed to work together to understand the timing, scale, and market demand for green ammonia, and how to best phase the plant development and construction to enhance project viability.

“This is an historic milestone for the project following an exciting period of engagement with Itochu in Japan and their very dynamic office in South Africa,” Hive chairperson Thulani Gcabashe stated.

“The huge positive impact that this project will have on Nelson Mandela Bay, the Eastern Cape, and indeed South Africa is welcomed by us all and we look forward to working together towards a meaningful offtake agreement and investment in the project by Itochu,” Gcabashe added in a release to Engineering News & Mining Weekly.

Itochu Africa Bloc CEO Shinya Ishizuka highlighted the memorandum of co-operation as representing another big step forward for Itochu in its growing leadership role in building a sustainable, clean fuel supply chain of green ammonia to the Far East and globally.

“With this collaborative development of green ammonia, Itochu aims to create a wide range of ammonia value chains in various existing industrial applications and will support our clients and industries in achieving low carbonisation goals,” added Ishizuka.

A conglomerate engaged in domestic and international trading and investment, Itochu has some 90 offices in 61 countries worldwide and is active in multiple sectors including the textile, machinery, mining and metals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, realty, information and communications technology and finance.

Hive Hydrogen South Africa is co-founded by Hive Energy and BuiltAfrica and Hive Energy, headquartered in the UK, is the 75% stakeholder of Hive Hydrogen South Africa and is the principal funder and co-developer of the project.

Hive Energy was founded in 2010 by Giles Redpath to participate in the solar PV expansion across England. The company now operates in 22 countries globally with its largest projects in Spain.

Hive is developing eight green hydrogen/ammonia projects globally. Once complete, the Hive projects will have the capacity to produce some 8 500 000 t of hydrogen/ammonia each year to support the global drive to net-zero emissions by 2050.

BuiltAfrica has a 25% stake in Hive Hydrogen South Africa and is a co-developer. It is a renewable energy development company based in South Africa and was founded by former Eskom CEO Gcabashe in 2009 as an investment and development business focused on sectors that support sustainable development.

Recognising that South Africa has the capacity and ability to be an internationally competitive producer of hydrogen and green ammonia, a memorandum of co-operation between Japan and South Africa was agreed on September 25 this year in Tokyo.


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