Reyburn Hendricks is an innovative leader from Cape Town, South Africa. Reyburn is directly involved in multiple innovative clean energy projects in South Africa. Janine Tilley is the author of this contribution and is a Project Manager for H1 Holdings and its subsidiaries.
The purpose of H1 Holdings is to improve the quality of lives by producing cleaner energy. Its long-term goal is to power the equivalent of 2 million households with cleaner energy. H1 Holdings aims to achieve this by developing, investing in and operating clean power plants.
Currently H1 Holdings is an equity participant in 4 renewable energy and clean energy power plants which will ultimately have a peak generation capacity of 162 megawatts. These projects are:
- a 15 megawatt biomass power plant
- a 138 megawatt wind farm
- a 4.7 megawatt hydro power plant
- a 4.3 megawatt Thermal Harvesting™ power plant called Eternity Power.
Reyburn is a director of Eternity Power which is an award winning clean energy project is based at the Anglo American Platinum Waterval Smelter in Rustenberg, South Africa. The ground breaking plant started generating electricity in June 2015 and uses waste heat from the smelter to generate electricity. Reyburn is also a director of the innovative Mkuze Biomass project in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The biomass project is the first biomass power project of its kind in South Africa. In addition, H1 Holdings is also involved in the Roggeveld Wind Farm project, a 138 MW wind farm situated between Sutherland and Laingsburg in the Northern Cape. The Kruisvallei Hydro project is a 4.7 MW project along the Orange River in the Orange Free State province, South Africa.
Reyburn and H1 Holdings have an active business development programme to grow this pipeline.
What's the story? Reyburn was born in Cape Town in 1972. He matriculated from St. Georges’ Grammar School and completed his A levels at Haileybury College in England. He has a Bachelor in Business Science from UCT and is Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder. Professionally, he is a member of The Investment Analysts Society and the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation.
After university he began working in the financial services sector in the asset management and private equity sectors. In 2007, Reyburn left the last company he worked for as an employee and set up H1 Holdings of which he is the majority shareholder and CEO. H1 Holdings’ purpose is to improve the quality of lives by producing cleaner energy. How it does this is by developing, investing in and operating clean energy power plants. Its long-term goal is to power the equivalent of 2 million households with cleaner energy by 2035.
From a standing start he has led H1 Holdings to be one of the leading companies in the clean energy space in South Africa. The group is involved in 4 renewable and clean energy power plants with a cumulative peak capacity of 162 megawatts, and with a future pipeline larger than this.
H1 Holdings is involved in two broad areas in the energy sector :
- a participant in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) under which it is involved in 3 renewable energy power projects which will supply electricity to South Africa’s national grid
- a participant in the co-generation space by which H1 Holdings generates electricity by harvesting waste energy from industrial clients. The group has one project called Eternity Power operating at a platinum smelter generating 4.3 megawatts of clean electrical energy. Eternity Power was inducted into the 2015 SA Innovation Awards Hall of Fame. A suite of Thermal Harvesting™ patents were were registered in developing the technical specifications of this project. One of the employees in the H1 Holdings group won Innovator of the Year at the 2015 SA Innovation Awards for the work done in developing these patents. The co-generation space ha enormous potential and it is estimated that there is 500 megawatts of wasted electrical energy in the smelter sector in South Africa alone.
How did they get into their work? Reyburn’s core value is Contribution and this is a value which is consistent in his personal life and in his working life. He is deeply concerned about the potential environmental degradation of the planet and wanted to find a way to help counteract this. South Africa’s electricity generation is very “dirty” with over 90% of the electricity generated being sourced from coal-fired power stations. South Africa is also experiencing power shortages which is damaging of the economic potential of the country. In 2010 Reyburn began looking at the sector and by entering it found a way to align his personal values together with making a contribution to the global environmental crisis and the electricity shortages in South Africa.
Why are they an effective innovator? Reyburn is effective because he is always looking at and experimenting with different ways to solve real world problems. This persistent curiosity together with the ability to lead a group of people to do the same has meant that H1 Holdings has been effective in being on the path to achieve its purpose.
Why is this important? Reyburn is father of two young children. He believes that we are all stewards of the planet for future generations. He intends to do his part to ensure that what is handed over is in a better condition. If H1 Holdings were to achieve its purpose by producing the equivalent of cleaner power for 2 million house holds it would result in achieving this intention. By doing so he hopes to be a role model to his children and inspire others to do the same.
Building new technology and investigating new business models is a very expensive and time-consuming exercise. The H1 Holdings group has direct experience in both these areas and is very aware of the difficulties.
The development of the Eternity Power project took 5 years to come fruition from the time of the first approach to Anglo Platinum to the eventual operation of the power plant. The reasons for the long development period were the following :
- This was the first time in the world that the particular set of technology decided upon was used in a smelter environment. As such, a significant amount of development work was required to be carried out which resulted in the development and registration of a suite of Thermal Harvesting™ patents
- In addition, a new business model had to be formulated to fund the power plant as Anglo Platinum was unwilling to spend the capex themselves or willing to operate the power plant – as no company in South Africa had ever built or operated this type of plant before. In the end, one of H1 Holdings’ subsidiaries formulated a business model along the lines of an Energy Conversion Agreement with Anglo Platinum and took on the role of operating the power plant.
If young companies are to succeed in building new technologies and developing new business models, they will need a lot of support to do this to achieve their purpose. In our case, the key factors to success are: access to capital for the technology development process as well as the commercialization of the business idea, the acceptance by potential clients and offtakers of these ideas and business models as well as the acceptance of the regulatory authorities to new business models. By Reyburn being accepted as an OpenIDEO Climate Fellow and by the company being celebrated, it may make the process of achieving H1 Holdings’ purpose easier in the following respects:
- it will give Reyburn and H1 Holdings an additional level of credibility when dealing with funders, clients, offtakers and regulatory authorities
- networking opportunities to interact with global leading experts on climate change
- he will gain storytelling skills to more persuasively make a case for H1 Holdings when interacting with potential funders, clients/offtakers and regulatory authorities.
- Reyburn may learn other skills during the fellowship and be exposed to new ideas and management practices which will allow H1 Holdings to achieve scale and more effectively meet its purpose