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GreenQUEST Public Forum on synthetic fuels

On 11 April, GreenQUEST hosted a panel of industry experts, scientists and academics, to discuss the transformative potential of green Liquefied Fuel Gas (green LFG) in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions.

Led by master of ceremonies Malibongwe Manono (Associate Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT), the speakers shared their views on green energy, sustainability and not least the potential impact of clean household fuels, in particular green LFG – the core of GreenQUEST – to revolutionise access to clean energy, support sustainable production and thus contribute towards a just energy transition.

First, GreenQUEST experts showcased the project’s trans-disciplinary approach to sustainability based of four key statements.

Green LFG enables a trans-disciplinary approach to sustainability

Introducing the event, Jack Fletcher (Emeritus Professor attached to the UCT Catalysis Institute and GreenQUEST project co-leader), shared inspiring insights on green LFG’s potential to transform energy access and reduce carbon emissions significantly.

The first presentation by Monica Rossi, a young expert at UCT Graduate School of Business, focused on the potential of green LFG to revolutionise energy access, and reduce poverty, particularly in marginalised communities, showing that green LFG can address multiple sustainability goals simultaneously.

Kirthi Chetty, an engineer at HYENA, then presented on the use of green LFG in existing LPG appliances. She demonstrated its effectiveness as a clean cooking fuel and the need to assess the impact of DME (dimethyl ether) components on cooking time and appliance efficiency.

Neill Bartie, senior researcher at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, provided insight into a circularity assessment by comparing the life cycle and sustainability impacts of green LFG with fossil-based LPG. In the light of the promising initial study results, he is convinced that the research is heading in the right direction and green LFG might substantially increase its environmental benefits.

Finally, Nico Fischer, Director of the Catalysis Institute at UCT, highlighted the potential of green LFG to create a comprehensive value chain from production to distribution, which is expected to stimulate industrial growth, support clean cooking solutions, and foster entrepreneurship.

Consensus on green LFG as an actor of decarbonisation.

Following the presentations, a panel of leading industry experts consisting of Mareli Botha (Technical Director at Process Mechanical Zutari), Annelize van der Merwe – (Director at Green Economy DTIC), Gareth Shaw (Synthetic Fuel Consultant) and Niels Luchters (CEO at HYENA), discussed their perspectives on policy, market dynamics and strategic approaches to scaling up green LFG technologies.

The panel discussion, moderated by Eudy Mabuza (Science Counsellor to the European Union, Department of Science and Innovation, Government of South Africa) ended with the consensus that green LFG as a drop-in fuel can contribute substantially to the rapid decarbonization of industry. Achieving this vision will require the following steps:

– Identify a market leader who can drive the adoption of green LFG.
– Address the challenges associated with the cost of scaling up production.
– Develop supportive policies.
– Provide subsidies to facilitate market entry.

Green LFG urgently needs a market approach and strategic partnerships

Summing up the Forum, Dave Wright (retired Chemical Engineer, independent energy consultant and Adjunct Professor in Chemical Engineering Department at UCT) echoed the constructive and promising discussions throughout the day. He urged a focused approach on market development over purely technological advances and advocated for strategic partnerships to effectively scale the technology.

Following this, those attending committed to taking immediate actions, including:

– Defining the potential of carbon credits to intensify the production and distribution of green LFG

– Facilitate access to testing the commercial viability of green LFG

– Engaging industry players and stakeholders to build support and test market acceptance of green LFG

– Develop the local ecosystem and explore domestic demand opportunities for green hydrogen and its derivatives in South Africa.

Green LFG can positively impact millions of lives.

Jack Fletcher concluded that the forum was successful in highlighting the opportunity presented by green LFG and for setting the stage for ongoing discussions and initiatives to find sustainable energy solutions in the developing world. “We are confident that the outcomes of the Forum will help GreenQUEST foster a transformative development in the world of clean energy that could have a significant positive impact on millions of lives.”

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