A South African joint venture has successfully launched the continent’s first fuel cell that runs on platinum and natural gas, according to a statement published on SAnews.gov.za.

Launched on 02nd April, the Platinum Power Fuel Cell, which is a product of a joint venture between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), energy firm Mitochondria and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), has a 100-kilowatt capacity and has been installed at the Chamber Mines offices in Johannesburg.

Overseeing proceedings was Dr. Rob Davies, South Africa’s Minister for Trade and Industry, who heralded the delivery of the cell as a clear opportunity for the country to enter the market as a manufacturing and distribution hub for fuel cell components.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Davies commented that the launch fits directly inline with the governments efforts to, “add value to our resources as a driver of industrial development in our country.”

The development of an alternative source of power generation in South Africa will be surely be welcomed by many in Africa’s second largest economy, particularly in light of the difficulties the country’s state owned power utility company Eskom has encountered in meeting national capacity since Q4 2014.

Home to an estimated 80% of the world’s known reserves, South Africa is in a strong position to create a significant value chain in its economy, so much so that the Department of Trade and Industry has been ‘contemplating the development of a platinum based Special Economic Zone.’

Davies continued to say that, “we also have a range of incentive programmes in place. Our team is available to discuss with this industry establishing  plant in South Africa and ways that government can support and encourage this very important technologically leading value addition to our platinum reserves.”