South Africa’s Department of Transport recently published a Green Strategy that outlines efforts to contribute towards a 5% reduction of emissions in the transport sector by 2050. These steps will include switching to hydrogen (H2) fuels and adopting H2 energy vehicles.
The publication states that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), have teamed up through the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Programme, to support renewable H2 production, storage and distribution in support of fuel cell powered transport in South Africa.
The HySA programme has three core Centres of Competence which have made significant progress in the development of fuel cell technology. One of these is a demonstration project currently underway between HySA and the South African Post Office (SAPO), whereby at least three battery electric scooters will have their range extended using H2 fuel cells with the on-board H2 stored in containers using metal hydride H2 storage material developed through the HySA Programme. The first such scooter has been completed and is currently undergoing performance testing and validation.
The Green Strategy states that, “Battery electric scooters tend to encounter challenges associated with range limitations, particularly in areas where the terrain is bad. In such instances, H2 fuel cells could be used to extend the range of these scooters and increase productivity.”
Fuel cell technology is also under demonstration in South Africa in material handling equipment, golf carts and buses. It is believed that such developments ”has the potential to put South Africa on a growth trajectory that is free from fossil fuels,” the document states.