In an update to a story we first ran back in March, the government of South Africa has recently announced its backing for Ballard Power and Anglo American Platinum’s deployment of a domestic fuel cell system. Field trials will test a methanol-fueled product designed for use in off-grid residential applications.
The system comprises a complete fuel cell system, including fuel cell stack, methanol fuel processor and other components, and has been designed to facilitate rural electrification within a local mini-grid, says Ballard, which hopes it will address the lack of power for many rural households in the country.
Interestingly, the South African government sees the technology as a way of usefully putting the country’s considerable platinum resources to work.
One disadvantage of fuel cell technology is a reliance on the precious metal, although, as recently reported in phys.org, reductions of up to 90% may be possible thanks to the development of a platinum-nickel nano-octahedra catalyst.