Hydrogen economy to take root in South Africa

Hydrogen economy to take root in South Africa

August 2, 2012 0 By John Max

Ambitious concept begins to gain popularity around the world

The concept of a hydrogen economy has been growing in popularity in South Africa. On its surface, the concept is quite simple, as it refers to an economic structure completely powered by hydrogen fuel. Such an economy could be quite successful because of its sustainability and lack of dependence on fossil-fuels and foreign sources of power. For South Africa, the prospects of being self-reliant in terms of energy are proving quite attractive.

Hydrogen economy adoption plan outlined at Sustainability Week conference

Dmitri Bessarabov, director of the country’s Department of Science and technology’s HySA Infrastructure Center for Competence, attended the Sustainability Week conference last week. During the conference, Bessarabov outlined the organization’s plans to help South Africa transition to a hydrogen economy. Science and technology are believed to be pivotal in the country’s endeavors, as these two fields will allow South Africa to make breakthroughs in fuel cell technology and make better use of hydrogen fuel. Given that South Africa is home to the majority of the world’s supply of platinum, its efforts to establish a hydrogen economy may become fruitful.

South African fuel cell industry may boost the possibility of a hydrogen economy

Platinum is a vital element in the manufacture of conventional fuel cells. The material is used to form the catalyst that fuel cells need to produce hydrogen fuel, which is then used to generate electricity. South Africa has already launched an ambitious plan to bolster its own fuel cell industry by focusing on the development and manufacture of platinum catalysts. As this fuel cell industry matures, it may serve as a strong foundation for a hydrogen economy.

Country committed to overcoming the challenges faced in ambitious plan

There are several challenges that could make the transition into a hydrogen economy difficult, one of which is the efficiency of fuel cells. Bessarabov believes that the economic prospects of a hydrogen economy are too promising to ignore, however, and suggests that South Africa will work to overcome whatever challenges it faces in this endeavor.


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