Fuel Cell Future: HySA Systems collaborates with European fuel cell giant Nedstack and local SMME Africa Green Energy Technologies
South Africa is becoming a major player in the global fuel cell industry is gaining significance as it evolves into a sector with massive economic potential – not just for the country’s platinum mining sector but for the country as a whole.
HYSA Systems, hosted by the University of the Western Cape’s South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry, announced today that it has entered into a collaborative tri-partite agreement with Europe’s largest independent fuel cell stack provider, Nedstack BV, and Cape Town-based green energy consultancy SMME, Africa Green Energy Technologies (AGET).
The collaboration is for the local manufacturing of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell components and systems. PEM fuel cells are considered to be the most versatile type of fuel cells currently in production – they are lightweight, have high power density and cold start capability, and can be used in many applications, such as stationary power, transport, portable power and even use in space.
HySA Systems, responsible for innovative hydrogen fuel cell technology like the HFCT generator at the UWC Nature Reserve and the world’s first hydrogen-powered forklift and refuelling station, will design and manufacture membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) as well as other components.
Nedstack, Europe’s largest independent PEM fuel cell producer (and the second largest in the world), will integrate the MEAs into the Nedstack PEM Fuel Cells, which will be jointly integrated into final products, in order to service Nedstack’s growing global customer footprint.
And both HySA Systems and Nedstack will collaborate closely with local SMME AGET, a specialist in developing projects using various forms of renewable energy technology types, to develop fuel cell market opportunities in South Africa and for the broader African continent.
Building a Future with Fuel Cells
Both Nedstack CEO Arnoud Van De Bree and HySA Systems Director, Dr Cordellia Sita, have emphasised their joint commitment to the integration of locally manufactured components into Nedstack Fuel Cells.
Since its inception, HySA Systems has generated significant intellectual capital and developed a number of prototypes which have been tested in the field by industry partners.
“The next bold step,” says Dr Sita, “is to ensure that these products are commercialised. The collaboration with Nedstack provides the required momentum for establishing a commercially viable fuel cell manufacturing industry in South Africa.”
“This collaboration will not only create a profound foundation for both local South African added value and Nedstack’s expertise and activities in potentially the whole of Africa,” adds Van De Bre, “but will also contribute to one of South Africa’s main business segments, being the platinum mining industry.”
For AGET CEO Pavel Parks, the opportunity to work alongside Nedstack and HySA Systems is significant for both the South African fuel cell industry and the development of local SMMEs.
AGET played a meaningful and important role in bringing Nedstack to South Africa to showcase the advancement South Africa has made in relation to fuel cell technology within a very short period of time.
In the end, this culminated in the exciting collaborative relationship between Nedstack and HySA Systems - a relationship that will propel a sustainable South African fuel cell sector, and help bring cleaner energy to the world.