The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in partnership with the German government will host a fuel cell bus workshop at the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre, in Bellville, Cape Town, next week.
The workshop will be held under the theme ‘Fuel Cell Bus – Unleashing Industrial Opportunities for South Africa through a Zero Emission Choice’ and forms part of the South African-German Energy Partnership.
DTI director-general Lionel October and his German counterpart Thorsten Herdan will deliver keynote addresses on the first day of the workshop, discussing the promotion of hydrogen and fuel cell buses in South Africa and Germany.
October says the workshop is aimed at providing a platform for South Africa to learn from Germany’s experience in the successful roll-out of fuel cell bus pilots in various cities.
“The transport sector is a major contributor to South Africa’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions . . . and to reduce the country’s carbon footprint bold steps need to be taken. These include a paradigm shift on the socioeconomic benefits of cleaner fuels and the adoption of cleaner technologies,” he adds.
Fuel cell buses present an opportunity for South Africa to play a role in reducing global GHG emissions and improve the quality of life.
Further, fuel cells containing a platinum catalyst present a value proposition for the South African economy in that there is the potential for job creation and growth in the platinum mining and mineral beneficiation industry.
“South Africa and Germany have a joint strategic interest to dig deeper into the great potential that hydrogen and fuel cells provide for clean mobility, the efficient supply of power and heat, as well as, as a storage medium for renewable energies.
“With fuel cell bus pilots already in place in cities such as Hamburg, Cologne and Stuttgart, Germany has gained a great deal of experience which it is happy to share,” says Herdan.
In 2015, the Tshwane, Johannesburg and Cape Town metros, together with 23 other cities across the globe, signed a C40 Clean Bus Declaration in which they committed to reducing emissions from vehicles by adopting clean bus technologies.