SA banks on hydrogen tech
Johannesburg – South Africa is ready to manufacture and sell hydrogen fuel technologies, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.
The Head of State and Government this week told legislators that years of research and development by government, academics and the private sector had culminated in South Africa reaching the stage where it was ready to commercialise hydrogen fuel technologies.
“This work serves two important developmental objectives: it offers the possibility of a new, renewable source of energy, while establishing new uses and new markets for the platinum group metals that are abundant in our country,” said President Ramaphosa.
He said the government was establishing a Platinum Valley, an industrial cluster bringing together various tech applications to form an integrated and sustainable hydrogen eco-system.
“This initiative will identify concrete project opportunities to kick start hydrogen cell manufacturing in promising hubs. It will also facilitate the commercialisation of home-grown intellectual property. It presents what I see as a great opportunity to build a local skills base and lead the country into a new era or energy generation and demand for its platinum group metals,” he said.
South Africa’s fuel cell activities date back to the mid-2000s with the start of Hydrogen South Africa (HySA), an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, now the Department of Science and Innovation.
“For more than a decade, government has been working with various partners, including the private sector and academia, to develop hydrogen fuel cell and lithium battery storage technologies. Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, which use platinum, offer an alternative source of clean electricity, while hydrogen allows for energy to be stored and delivered in a usable form. Now, after a decade of investment, we are ready to move from research and development to manufacturing and commercialisation,” President Ramaphosa said.
He added: “We will develop measures that should be taken to ensure that innovators are supported in local innovation and research. This is just one example of the boundless potential that exists in our country to build a new economy of the future.”
South Africa, a signatory to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, subscribes to the growing drive towards clean energy, which can sustainably power industries, homes and rural areas.