COVID-19 field hospital run on hydrogen power

A new hydrogen fuel cell system is now solely powering a COVID-19 field hospital at Pretoria’s One Military Hospital. Graeme Raubenheimer filed this report. Courtesy #DStv403


PRETORIA - A new hydrogen fuel cell system is wholly responsible for powering a COVID-19 field hospital at Pretoria's One Military hospital, and government is planning to expand the initiative.

Local company Bambili Energy constructed this clean energy system to be the sole source of power for the field hospital and it can provide uninterrupted electricity for up to two years.

READ: SA has huge 'green fuels' potential. But it needs to act

Bambili Energy CEO Zanele Mbatha said fuel cell systems are highly reliable.

"We guarantee that they’re available 99.98 percent of the time. We are so confident that we’re using them today to run on a primary power basis, for a field hospital that has high care and ICU, so those are patients that need guaranteed power.”

This new tech, however, does not come cheap.

READ: Giant leap for hydrogen technology 

Phil Mjwara, the director-general at the Science and Innovation Department said it depends on how you price.

"At the moment the fuel cell is R13-million but what is the cost of having lives that are not saved if you don’t have power. Also, the idea is to get revenue out of this when they are exported.”

But before government and Bambili sells overseas, they plan on installing similar systems in rural towns in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape next year.


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