IDC & DBSA invests in affordable and sustainable energy in South Africa

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

The funding is 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 providing sustainable energy through a locally-produced fuel cell technology.

The primary objectives of this project are: Design of a 250kW fuel cell system; Construct a facility to commercially manufacture the fuel cell units; and Commercial manufacturing and sale of the fuel cell units.

The secondary objectives of this 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 (CHP) from fuel cells.

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Project Phoenix

According to Christo Fourie, IDC’s Head of Energy, 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 African-based. “The IDC’s funding will go towards the completion of the bankable feasibility study phase of Project Phoenix. Project Phoenix will support IDC’s developmental objectives by creating jobs; increasing demand of locally produced minerals like chromium, iron and zirconium; replacement of imported power generation equipment (e.g. Gas engines); 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,” he added.

Mohale Rakgate, DBSA’s Group Executive for the Project Preparation Division, commented that the investment consists of a structured project preparation facility that will allow Mitochondria to enhance the country and continent’s energy supply security. “This facility will anchor DBSA as a long-term partner to support Mitochondria with their development efforts in scaling up this highly impactful source of cleaner energy. The fuel cell project has many technical and localisation advantages ideally suited to deal with the energy challenges facing South Africa. This investment emphasises the bank’s strategy towards diversification of the energy mix locally and in Africa,” said Mr. Rakgate.