South Africa is proud to announce the installation of its first building baseload fuel cell: a 100kW installation at the Chamber of Mines Building in the Johannesburg CBD.  Given South Africa’s current energy crisis, the timing is perfect to unveil Africa’s first building baseload fuel cell on natural gas that will provide baseload power to the entire CoM building.

It is the fuel cell’s reliability and security of supply that make it particularly attractive in the South African context. There are many more advantages: apart from ticking the green energy box, its ability to provide distributed, off grid generation together with low operating and maintenance costs make it an appropriate technology of choice.

One of the key reasons the Chamber has selected fuel cell technology is to showcase its use of platinum. Containing over 1kg of the precious metal, the use of this technology is of strategic importance to South Africa’s beneficiation agenda; by increasing the use of platinum through growing markets for the metal, we will further grow the mining industry, contributing to job creation and economic growth.

What has made the project so remarkable has been the commitment to its success from five partners across government and industry. The vision for powering the Chamber of Mines’ building – a grand dame of 92 years – started some three years ago, and has seen the Chamber partnering with the DTI, Mitochondria Energy Company, the IDC and Egoli Gas.

This project demonstrates the potential of the market to large production companies, drives beneficiation through one of our core commodities, platinum, and encourages the localisation of fuel cell technology production in South Africa – and Africa.