driven to deliver clean energy through hydrogen fuel cells

The hydrogen economy

  • Hydrogen is an abundant resource
  • High efficiency and powerful energy production
  • Hydrogen fuel cells are highly fuel efficient
  • Hydrogen is a renewable source of energy
  • Hydrogen offers new options for the generation, storage and distribution of energy.
  • Hydrogen is an energy carrier and is used to store and distribute energy and can be combined with the use of fuel cell technologies to produce electricity.
  • Optimising security of energy supply.
  • An important option for long-term decarbonisation of energy and transport systems.
  • Modelling studies often suggest that hydrogen could be an important part of an affordable and achievable transition to a low carbon economy.
  • The hydrogen economy is undergoing serious consideration in South Africa
  • Concerted effort to develop safe, clean and reliable alternative energy sources to fossil fuels.
  • Another driving force behind this technology is the prevalence of platinum reserves found in South Africa.
  • Platinum group metals (PGMs) are the key catalytic materials used in fuel cells. More than 75% of the world’s known platinum reserves found within South African borders


  • A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemical reaction.
  • Sir William Grove demonstrated the concept of the fuel cell in 1839.
  • However, it was not until 1932 that Francis Bacon developed the first successful fuel cell.
  • Every fuel cell has two electrodes called, respectively, the anode and cathode.
  • The reactions that produce electricity take place at the electrodes.
  • Every fuel cell also has an electrolyte, which carries electrically charged particles from one electrode to the other, and a catalyst, which speeds the reactions at the electrodes.
  • Hydrogen is the basic fuel, but fuel cells also require oxygen. One great appeal of fuel cells is that they generate electricity with very little pollution – much of the hydrogen and oxygen used in generating electricity ultimately combine to form a harmless byproduct, namely water.
  • One detail of terminology: a single fuel cell generates a tiny amount of direct current (DC) electricity.
  • In practice, many fuel cells are usually assembled into a stack. 
  • Alternative energy options have gained importance owing to the depletion of fossil fuels.

Fuel cell diagram

Fuel cell components

Business location

  • Saldanha Bay is one of the largest and deepest natural harbours in southern Africa with dredged depths to 23 m below chart datum.
  • An artificial breakwater improves the conditions within the bay.
  • Future developments expected to centre around the oil and gas industry and the energy sector

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