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PGMs Market To Grow 4.47% by 2029, Boosting Africa’s Green Hydrogen Sector

THE global market for platinum group metals (PGMs)—including platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium, and ruthenium—is projected to increase by 4.47 percent from now until 2029, according to market research firm Mordor Intelligence. This growth is largely driven by the rising demand for PGMs in green technologies, particularly hydrogen energy solutions. Energy Capital & Power, organisers of the Critical Minerals Africa (CMA) Summit scheduled for November 6-7 in Cape Town, highlight that this trend will create significant opportunities across Africa’s mining and hydrogen value chains.

PGMs and the green hydrogen revolution

The CMA Summit will explore the critical relationship between PGMs and green hydrogen, and their expanding roles in the global and African energy transitions. Africa holds the world’s largest PGM reserves, with South Africa alone containing over 80 percent of global resources, and Zimbabwe also possessing substantial deposits. PGMs are crucial in fuel cell technology, which generates electricity from hydrogen and oxygen.


As countries like Namibia, South Africa, Mauritania, and Egypt ramp up their green hydrogen initiatives, the long-term demand for PGMs is expected to rise significantly. These metals are essential for various applications, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, stationary power generation, and industrial processes.

Africa’s green hydrogen potential

Africa’s abundant renewable resources position the continent as a prime candidate for green hydrogen production. The European Investment Bank estimates that Africa could produce 50 million tons of green hydrogen annually by 2035. Namibia has emerged as a pioneer in this sector, attracting billions in investment for green hydrogen projects from entities such as USAID, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, and Japanese investment firm ITOCHU.

Notable projects and partnerships

Hyphen Hydrogen Energy is leading a $10-billion project in Namibia, with the capacity to produce 350,000 metric tons of hydrogen per year using 7 GW of renewable energy and 3 GW of hydrogen electrolysers. Additionally, Belgian port operator Antwerp Bruges has partnered with the Namibian Ports Authority to develop a €250-million hydrogen and ammonia storage facility at Walvis Bay Port, facilitating hydrogen transport to regional and global markets.

In South Africa, a significant partnership was formed last month between Wesgro, the Northern Cape Economic Development, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, Namibia’s Environmental Investment Fund, Gasunie, and Climate Fund Managers. This agreement aims to assess the feasibility of a green hydrogen corridor connecting the Western and Northern Cape provinces with Lüderitz in Namibia.

Furthermore, Hive Energy UK and Genesis Eco-Energy are advancing a $5.9bn green hydrogen and ammonia project in South Africa’s Coega Special Economic Zone. This project will add 14,400 MW of electricity to the grid and produce 900,000 tons of green ammonia for export, boosting South Africa’s export revenue. Additionally, South Africa has established a $1-billion fund with the Netherlands to accelerate green hydrogen projects to meet growing European demand.

Synergy between PGMs and green hydrogen

Private and public sectors in South Africa are exploring the synergy between PGMs and green hydrogen, particularly in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Last October, Anglo American partnered with BMW South Africa and Sasol to develop South Africa’s PGM and green hydrogen value chains. Anglo American will supply PGMs for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, Sasol will provide green hydrogen, and BMW will supply the vehicles.

Looking ahead

As global demand for green hydrogen increases due to stricter carbon emission policies and growing energy needs, a parallel rise in PGM demand is anticipated. Africa, home to the majority of these critical minerals, stands to benefit significantly. The CMA 2024 Summit will delve into the latest policies, projects, and developments to ensure the continent capitalises on green hydrogen as a key growth driver.

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