South African COVID-19 response to include hydrogen fuel cell deployment

The country’s government intends to send units to a military hospital for support in the pandemic.

Seven hydrogen fuel cell units are being deployed to a Pretoria military hospital as a part of the South African COVID-19 response from the federal government.

The fuel cell deployment is a part of a partnership among three different government departments.

The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) partnered with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) in this South African COVID-19 response.

The Cabinet first approved of the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Strategy in 2007. Since that time, the program has been steadily progressing in H2 and fuel cell technology development. It has focused primarily on platinum group metal (PGM) beneficiation and improved energy security.

The South African COVID-19 response is using the fuel cells to for power at 1 Military Hospital.

This pandemic strategy is deploying the hydrogen fuel cell units to 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria partnering the public and private sector. Among the private companies also taking part in this strategy include the Bambili Energy Group, Horizon from Singapore, Element One from the US, and Sweden’s Powercell.

Bambili Energy Group is a local black- and female-owned microenterprise. Its focus is on the commercialization of the HySA program-developed intellectual property. Both Horizon and Element One are global original equipment manufacturers (OEM) with a specialization in hydrogen fuel cell and reformer manufacturing, respectively.

This partnership with Bambili will incorporate HySA intellectual property into Horizon and Element One’s commercial products. This includes five of the seven H2 fuel cell systems deployed as part of the South African COVID-19 response at 1 Military Hospital. The other two systems will involve the partnership with fuel cell OEM Powercell. Starting in March 2021, Bambili will launch the local manufacture of the stationary fuel cell systems.

The pandemic has placed a sudden and immediate demand on the government to deploy health facilities to provide care for those infected with the coronavirus. The hydrogen fuel South African COVID-19 - hospital bedscell systems are being used to quickly provide the clean power these facilities need, regardless of whether they are permanent or temporary structures.

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