Ballard to Develop Residential Fuel Cells for South Africa

21 Jun 2013

SA Ballard

Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP)(TSX: BLD) has announced that it has secured a commitment of investment funding to support field trials in South Africa. The South African Government has reinforced its support of growth in its domestic fuel cell industry with Godfrey Oliphant, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, making the announcement during his presentation to attendees of the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells 2013 International Conference and Exhibition in Vancouver.

As part of its beneficiation strategy and the drive to improve on the uses of platinum, the South African Government will partner with Ballard Power Systems and Anglo American Platinum with initial field trials of a new methanol-fuelled residential fuel cell system. The product includes a complete fuel cell system, including fuel cell stack, methanol fuel processor and other components needed to meet the requirements of rural electrification within a local mini-grid. The home generator product is being developed as a means of addressing the many African households in rural communities that are currently unable to economically access the grid as a result of distance or terrain. Households which are more than 14 km from the nearest grid connection are currently the most economically suitable to fuel cell deployment.

Godfrey Oliphant (above left) said: "We are very pleased to support the field trials of the home generator product being developed by Anglo American Platinum and Ballard Power Systems. Projects such as this are key in the development of new technologies which will stimulate the creation of jobs for the South African economy."

Platinum-based fuel cells provide a significant economic and environmental development opportunity for South Africa by facilitating the provision of clean, reliable and cost-effective power. South Africa holds 75% of the world’s supply of platinum, a key component of Ballard’s proton exchange membrane fuel cell products.

"Anglo’s involvement in fuel cell market adoption extends beyond the implications for platinum utilisation to the potential transformational impact fuel cells could have on the economy in South Africa," said Andrew Hinkly, Anglo American Platinum’s Executive Head of Marketing. "Fuel cell-based product deployments enable the platinum beneficiation strategy in Africa and create jobs in a key growth sector for the economy."

Karim Kassam (above right), Vice President, Business & Corporate Development added: "We are excited by the progress under our joint development agreement with Anglo American Platinum. Work to date has included a market feasibility study, testing of a proof-of-concept system based on existing technology and initial work on a prototype system."

Four systems will be deployed in initial field trials during 2014 to generate data to support further development of the prototype systems. Upon successful completion of the product development phase, plans are to proceed to a pilot test of between two and three hundred units in villages across rural South Africa in 2015.


Source: Ballard Power Systems

Image: Ballard Power Systems

Industry Directory: Ballard Power Systems


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