The recent advancements in the fuel cell market indicate that the hydrogen economy is currently undergoing serious consideration in South Africa. Just this week, the country’s Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor unveiled SA’s first prototype hydrogen fuel cell forklift and a refuelling station at the Impala Refining Services in Springs, Johannesburg- an initiative expected to boost the country’s fuel cell industry.
This initiative is the result of a partnership between the Department of Science and Technoogy through the HySA Systems Centre of Competence and the Impala Platinum through its Impala Refineries.
Fuel cell technology is efficient and compact, and the technology is clean and safe for the environment. It will provide affordable and reliable energy, which is crucial for economic development in the country.
The R6 million project is the first of its kind in South Africa and Implats plans to use the hydrogen fuel cell technology as its main source of energy for material handling and underground mining equipment.
“Developing a viable fuel cell industry in South Africa has several advantages for the country such as economic development, sustainable job creation and social good. As the world’s largest platinum supplying region there is a guaranteed supply of the metal as well as the potential to increase global platinum demand,” said Terence Goodlace, CEO of Implats.
Minister Naledi Pandor also emphasised that the country has renewable energy potential. “South Africa has an abundance of renewable energy potential. It have some of the best conditions for solar energy in the world, and sufficient wind-energy potential to provide us with our energy needs,” the Minister said.
This is in line with government’s Nine-Point Plan to boost economic growth and create much-needed jobs.