Transitioning SA's Petrochemical Value Chain

How much carbon feedstock is available in South Africa?

There is a lack of data around the availability of biomass suitable for green fuel/chemical production, as well as that relating to industrial point sources of emissions, the latter partly due to commercial sensitivities.

Acknowledging these data constraints, the NBI’s Study on Decarbonising South Africa’s Petrochemicals and Chemicals Sectors estimates that around ~26-34Mtpa of second-generation biomass is available for use in green fuels / chemicals production in the country. The WWF’s study on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production potential in South Africa estimates that nationally there is carbon feedstock availability of ~17.5 – 20Mtpa, which includes various types of second generation biomass, as well as carbon stocks from industrial point sources of ~3.3Mtpa.

The table below provides a description of first, second, third generation biomass feedstocks and potential trade-offs associated with their use. Second generation biomass feedstocks are typically the preferred option due to lower trade-offs with food production, with third generation feedstocks not yet commercially feasible.