Govt, Implats partner on fuel cell plan
1 November 2012
South Africa's Department of Science and Technology is to partner with Impala
Platinum (Implats) to use and build local skills in the development of hydrogen and
fuel cell products, the department announced on Wednesday.
The collaboration with the world's second-largest platinum producer is intended to
attain some of the objectives of the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies
Research, Development and Innovation Strategy (HySA Strategy), which was
established in 2008.
Implats will initially co-fund a niche project in the portfolio of HySA Systems to the
value of R6-million, over a three-year cycle.
The project involves using South African raw materials to explore novel on-board
hydrogen storage devices to be used for utility vehicles such as forklifts that
will be tested in the Implats environment.
Stimulating job creation and economic growth
Science and Technology Minister Derek
Hanekom said the department hoped its
partnership with Implats would eventually lead to job creation and stimulate
With the necessary steps being taken to build up hydrogen and fuel cell
infrastructure, it was essential to begin developing a supply chain of businesses
which could generate jobs and growth in these new technologies, said lead
investigator and Director of HySA Systems, Bruno Pollet.
"Hydrogen-powered utility vehicles will help to create new working partnerships and
bring about a sense of cohesion among those already working in the industry," Pollet
Implats chief executive officer Terence Goodlace said that long-term global growth
could be sustained only on the foundations of resource availability and technological
evolution, and that precious metals would be particularly valuable as growth patterns
Implats recognised that beneficiation as a mechanism for generating additional value
national resource would be increasingly important, Goodlace added.
Penetrating the global fuel cell market
The Department of Science and Technology has established three centres of
competence under its HySA Strategy, which are hosted by some of the country's
leading universities and science councils.
These centres of competence are hosted by the University of the Western Cape, co-
hosted by the University of Cape Town and analytical chemistry laboratory Mintek,
and co-hosted by North West University and the Council for Scientific and Industrial
The HySA centres of competence have made progress in securing partnerships with
the international and local private sectors, which will enable HySA to penetrate the
global fuel cell market, the department said.
HySA Systems, one of the centres of competence, is based at the University of the
Western Cape, and is engaged in systems integration and technology