SA has more than 75 percent of the world’s known platinum group metal reserves, and the global emergence of the hydrogen economy will see demand for these resources increase, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said.
“Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are part of the energy grand challenge, one of the [department’s] five ‘grand challenge’ fields,” she said at the launch of the University of the Western Cape’s Competence Centre on Hydrogen Technology Validation and Systems Integration, according to a copy of her speech sent to Sapa.
Such “grand challenges” were an important organising principle for science, technology and innovation policy. “Our aim is to achieve a 25 percent share of the global hydrogen and fuel cell catalysts market using novel platinum group metal (PGM) catalysts.”
Pandor said South Africa needed to ensure it exploited the numerous socio-economic opportunities its participation in the emerging hydrogen economy would present. As a result the department had developed the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Research, Development and Innovation Strategy, approved by Cabinet in May 2007, known as Hydrogen South Africa (HySA), she said.
HySA was intended to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technologies on a commercial scale. Pandor said the department had established three “centres of competence” and had provided funding for them. These were the Hydrogen Systems Integration and the Technology Validation Centre of Competence, the Hydrogen Catalysis Centre of Competence, and the Hydrogen Infrastructure Centre of Competence.
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