IDC, DBSA Invest in Development of Locally-Produced Fuel Cell Energy Tech

Development finance institutions the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) have committed project development funding to Mitochondria Energy Company, a South African business that was established with the purpose of providing affordable, reliable and sustainable energy services.

The funding will be used to complete the bankable feasibility study of a stationary fuel cell energy solution.

The project aims to strengthen the energy sector in South Africa by developing a locally-produced fuel cell technology.

The primary objectives of this project are to design a 250 kW fuel cell system; build a facility to commercially manufacture the fuel cell units; and the commercial manufacture and sale of the fuel cell units.

The secondary objectives of the project include stimulating the demand for fuel cell energy generation systems to encourage its use as a source of cleaner energy in industries, and promoting the use of combined heat and power from fuel cells.

“The IDC is excited to co-develop this project that will localise the manufacture of fuel cell units ensuring that the technology and intellectual property is South Africa-based. The IDC’s funding will go towards the completion of the bankable feasibility study phase of Project Phoenix. 

Project Phoenix will support the IDC’s developmental objectives by creating jobs; increasing demand for locally produced minerals like chromium, iron and zirconium; replacing imported power generation equipment; localisation of the manufacture of some of the fuel cell components; and supporting a black industrialist venture.

“This project will eventually contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and is aligned to the IDC clean energy strategy,” says IDC energy head Christo Fourie.

“We are thrilled to have the IDC and the DBSA join us in developing a solution that can harness local demand to drive new industry formation at this critical time in our country and lay the foundation for the country to be a serious player in the emerging hydrogen economy.

“Mitochondria’s aim is to realise South African economic and manufacturing dividend by achieving global competitiveness in fuel technology, not excluding the potential for significant foreign earnings.

“This partnership with our country’s leading development finance institutions, supports the long-term vision of Mitochondria to stimulate the demand for fuel cell energy generation systems in Africa,” says Mitochondria CEO Mashudu Ramano.

The advantages of deploying fuel cells include climate change mitigation; operational efficiencies; health and safety benefits; operational cost reduction; the ability to withstand adverse and harsh environmental conditions; energy storage; better land use; and economic advantages.