In August 2014, we launched the world’s first fuel cell mini-grid electrification field trial at Naledi Trust Community, in Kroonstad (part of the Moqhaka Local Municipality in the southern part of the Fezile Dabi district of South Africa’s Free State Province). The 34 household community is been powered using a platinum-based fuel cell product developed for use in off-grid residential application and is fuelled with methanol. The system is being trialled as a provider of electricity to remote communities where the cost of electrification by extending the national grid may be cost or technically prohibitive.
The project is being undertaken with Ballard Power Systems, in partnership with South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, and South Africa’s Department of Energy. Platinum-based fuel cells provide significant economic and social development opportunities for South Africa and elsewhere in Africa as they provide clean, reliable and cost-effective power.