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Research & Development (R&D) Focus

The development of novel technologies is key to HySA, PetroSA and Eskom R&D agendas and feature prominently in relevant divisions of SAIAMC.

HySA Systems

The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies RDI strategy (HySA) launched by the DST is aimed at the initiation of new high tech industries based on minerals found in South African soil, especially platinum group metals (PG Ms). The objective of HySA systems is to integrate and validate technologies within three key applications of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, namely the combined heat and power, portable power and fuel cell vehicles to enable development of key components that can be marketed internationally. The focus is to develop components utilising the PGM resources, particularly membrane electrode assemblies and stacks for high temperature PEMFCs, lithium-ion batteries and super capacitors for electric vehicles, and solid state hydrogen storage materials and units.

The PetroSA Synthetic Fuels Innovation Centre

The PSFIC R&D focus is on COD, this in turn relates to PetroSA's priority of investigating those aspects of the GTL process which have the greatest potential of increase in value added products. Thus a major research thrust is that into alternative COD feedstocks, also under investigation is the utilisation of new zeolitic materials that are different from the COD-9 catalyst presently used at the PetroSA refinery in Mossel Bay, as oligomerisation catalysts. Optimisation of current process conditions to improve product quality through both theoretical and empirical studies conducted on site are also part of the programme. The PSFIC has equipment and resources capable of up scaling all R&D on COD from bench scale reactor rigs, to micro-scale reactors up to pilot scale.

Eskom R&D thrust

SAIAMC's Eskom related research and development thrust focuses on solving technological problems relevant to the major aspects of the company's core business of namely UCG product gas treatment and emission control. SAIAMC is developing technology for the extraction and compression of hydrogen from an air fueled coal reformate gas stream. The project includes novel technologies such as: i) desulphurisation, ii) water gas shift process, iii) membrane separation, iv) hydrogen extraction and v) compression using metal hydrides. Research includes design and assembly of process development and evaluation platforms ranging from the typical laboratory scale (0.06Nm3/h) up to pilot scale (20Nm3/hr), integration of the unit operations followed by a cost analysis.


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