Supporting growth in the hydrogen and fuel cell economy


Hydrogen is a versatile, zero-emission energy carrier with a high energy density. It can also be stored in large quantities and for long periods. The Hydrogen Council currently estimates that hydrogen could represent 18% of global energy demand by 2050.

To address the global decarbonisation challenge, there are increasing opportunities to use PGMs, which catalyse the electrolysers that generate hydrogen as well as the fuel cells that convert hydrogen into electricity to power mobile and stationary applications.

In supporting the development of a fuel cell economy, we aspire to make hydrogen a key part of decarbonising and powering our own operations, moving us closer towards carbon neutrality.

Implats has invested around R25 million in targeted fuel cell development in South Africa in collaboration with government and academic institutions to help promote local technology development, as well as develop local skills and fuel cell manufacturing and deployment.

We have installed a 1.5kW fuel cell for testing under realistic load conditions at our Springs Refineries, where grey hydrogen is already piped. The testing of the stationary fuel cell follows the already successful implementation of a fully operational mobile hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklift at the refinery, which emits zero air pollution.

Implats donated 16ha of its land for fuel cell manufacture at Impala Springs for the development of a special economic zone (SEZ), aimed at driving local fuel cell manufacturing.

We continue to support the development of the hydrogen economy through several partnerships.

  • Investing in AP Ventures. This includes investing in technologies and companies in the fuel cell, hydrogen and energy-storage value chain
  • Investing in BASF (Automotive). Research focused on back substitution of platinum in gasoline engines. This will include rhodium/palladium substitution
  • Collaborating with partners on the use of Ru/Ir in hydrogen enabling projects
  • Metals loans with local partners, including tertiary institutions who are carrying out fuel cell research.