South Africa is on track to introduce Hydrogen as a possible fuel source in parts of the economy, says minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande.
Presenting his departmental budget speech on Tuesday (9 July), Nzimande said that the country’s dedicated Hydrogen research programme – HySA – has resulted in the establishment of spin-out companies whose products are attracting market interest.
He added that some of the new technology will soon undergo a trial-run in South Africa, including the powering of over 200 homes in KZN.
“We have started rolling out demonstrations for the provision of electricity and mobility using platinum-based hydrogen fuel cells,” he said.
“Later this year, through the HySA programme, we will be collaborating with the Department of Energy, iLembe District Municipality, global fuel cell manufacturers, and local black-owned companies to power over 200 households in a rural community in KwaZulu-Natal using HySA-generated intellectual property.”
Nzimande said that his department was also investigating and investing in a number of other ‘green’ technologies.
“South Africa needs green chemistry technologies to produce value-added products, in particular chemically complex pharmaceutical intermediates,” he said.
“We are therefore supporting other green manufacturing solutions such Biocatalysis can be used in the manufacturing of value-added products, the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, and the development of biorefineries that can yield renewable chemicals and liquid fuels.”
Nzimande said his department has also established an ‘Indigenous Knowledge-Based Bioinnovation unit’, with six platforms covering African natural medicines, cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, health infusions, technology transfer, and commercialisation.