The world's leading partners in the multi-billion-dollar fuel cell industry will meet in Pretoria this week for the 30th Steering Committee Meeting of the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE).


The Department of Science and Technology will host the meeting from 4 to 7 December with leading hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology partners from around globe, as it looks to develop the local fuel cells market.


Countries such as China, the United States of America, Brazil, Japan, Zimbabwe and India, and the European Commission, will participate in the meeting. The meeting is dedicated to the development, promotion and integration of hydrogen fuel cells (HFCs) in the global economy.


Research indicates that the global fuel cell industry reached $2,2 billion in revenue in 2014 and $3,6 billion in 2016, with countries such as Japan, China and the USA at the forefront of innovation in this industry.


Comprising 19 member countries, the IPHE serves as a mechanism to organise and implement effective and focused international research and development, demonstration and deployment activities related to HFC technologies.


It also provides a forum for sharing best practices on initiatives, policies, regulations and standards, to accelerate the widespread deployment of HFCs in the economy and enable energy, economic and environmental security worldwide.


South Africa has been a member of IPHE since 2010 and the partnership presents an excellent platform for the country to form and strengthen collaborations that will drive the local development of the fuel cell market.


The Department of Science and Technology has been implementing the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Research, Development and Innovation (HySA) Strategy since 2008, aimed at developing products geared towards the export market. Since then, the country has demonstrated its capabilities by developing various products, including a hydrogen-powered forklift, a 2 kW HFC system deployed at the University of the Western Cape's nature reserve and, more recently a 2,5 kW HFC system deployed in a rural area for off-grid power supply.


The IPHE provides an opportunity for South Africa to learn about the expectations of the global market in terms of product performance and targets, the current limitations of technologies, and what is being done to address the challenges.


One of the primary objectives of the HySA Strategy is to create wealth through value-added manufacturing, by developing the platinum group metal catalysis value chain in South Africa, with the aim of capturing 25% of the global fuel cell market.


The IPHE meeting will include a government round table focusing on policy to promote the deployment and uptake of fuel cells. Various government departments, such as Trade Industry, Energy, Mineral Resources and National Treasury, are expected to attend.


Participants will also include academics and local university students involved in fuel cell research, CEOs of local platinum companies, science councils, and gas and fuel cell companies.  Global companies such as Air Products, Air Liquide and Shell, utilities such as E.ON and car manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes and Toyota will also share their experience and expectations.


The Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, will address a select group of IPHE delegates at a breakfast meeting on 7 December.


The media are invited as follows:


Research and development education outreach


Date:   Tuesday, 4 December 2018


Venue:  Sanlam Auditorium, University of Pretoria, Hatfield Campus


Time:   11:00–19:00


Forum with industry stakeholders


Date:   Wednesday, 5 December 2018


Venue: The Capital Menlyn Maine Hotel and Apartments (Octagon Room)

            194 Bancor Ave, Menlyn, Pretoria


Time:    09:00–12:30



Issued by the Department of Science and Technology


For general media enquiries and RSVPs, please contact Thabang Setlhare at 072 659 9690.