The 39th steering committee meeting of the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE) was held in Pretoria this past week. South Africa's abundance of minerals, particularly platinum group metals (PGMs), gives it an advantage in the global transition to net-zero carbon emissions. The IPHE is an international governmental partnership consisting of 22 members that share information and facilitate research, development, and deployment initiatives to advance the introduction of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies on a global scale. The Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Blade Nzimande praised the IPHE as a platform that encouraged countries to exchange knowledge and experiences regarding breakthroughs involving hydrogen and fuel cells. The hydrogen economy is recognized in the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and the government is working to increase the value chain for hydrogen skills development especially with the Northern Cape assuming the construction phase of two Hydrogen projects; namely Boegoeberg and Prieska. In September 2020, the Department of Science and Innovation and the Department of Higher Education and Training began a training program for unemployed graduates from TVET colleges across the country to develop capable technicians ready for the deployment, installation, and maintenance of hydrogen fuel cell systems.
Journalist: Thulani Sigonya