As demand in South Africa for alternative energy sources and products grows, the industry is looking towards engineering solutions which will assist in catering to this need.

Tshwane-based Rand Technical Services (RTS) offers the market a solution to this prevalent requirement with the introduction of the P-60 pressurised electrolyser unit from Norwegian principal NEL Hydrogen.

The NEL P-60 pressurised electrolyser is used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen electrolysis. The end-product, hydrogen can then be used as an energy storage or energy transfer medium.

Ian Fraser, Chairman of RTS, says that there is a definite need in the market for this type of product; and that the NEL P-60 unit has capabilities which will benefit a broad range of industries.

He explains that the company’s relationship with Norsk Hydro Electrolysers (later renamed NEL Hydrogen) extends back to 1996.

“RTS is a great proponent of the advantages that can be derived by adopting hydrogen technology. However, until recently, the cost factor around providing a smaller unit was not feasible locally,” he said.

NEL Hydrogen recognised the challenges around developing a small, more compact hydrogen electrolyser which would be affordable enough for a mass market. Research into what later became the NEL P-60 then commenced in earnest.

“One of the benefits of the unit is its reliability. The electrodes are stable and the unit is able to consistently develop the gases required at pressures of 15 bar. The unit is easily installed and can fit into a 6 meter container which means that it is very compact,” he comments, adding that another significant feature of the machine is the ability to run it remotely though a computer modem.

Fraser is confident that the product will become popular in South Africa because of the range of industries it serves, and the benefits that this offers companies in terms of reliability and safety.

The NEL P-60 can be used in a variety of industries from energy generation to steel annealing, but the most exciting future application lies in its use within the transportation sector.

“There is a growing global movement which is embracing the use of vehicles powered by renewable energy. South Africa is no different, but is faced with the challenge of offering a cost-effective product in industry which could produce this energy source,” Fraser advises.

“There is definitely a possibility that this technology will be widely utilised in the transportation sector in future; and also that pressurised electrolysers will appear adjacent to fuel pumps at filling stations because they can provide such a reliable source of energy.” 

Although there are challenges in the industry, Fraser is confident that the P-60 will prove more than able to the task.

“The product was designed over a number of years, and the research and development which went into its design was very thorough. The product’s capabilities and adaptability means that it has a wide range of applications and is robust enough to handle most environments with ease,” Fraser concludes.

 

Rand Technical Services, or RTS, is a specialised, South African company offering innovative technologies and solutions to industrial problems.

Run by Chairman Ian Fraser since its inception in the early 1990’s, the company offers globally-sourced, quality products such as continuous belt weighers without load cells, laser-based gas detection devices for hot or corrosive areas, and electrolysers for hydrogen production.

Product delivery and technical consultation by highly-trained staff is offered throughout Southern Africa to a range of clients in industry sectors such as mining, glass, steel and energy.