Creating the building blocks for the hydrogen economy
Isondo is establishing an industrial scale, high-tech, fuel cell and electrolyser component manufacturing facility within the OR Tambo Special Economic Zone (SEZ) adjacent to Africa’s busiest airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This facility has been designed to incorporate cutting-edge cleanroom and production environments that will house manufacturing, materials preparation and R&D activities. The facility will start production in mid-2021.
The plant is designed to manufacture, at an industrial scale, PGM-containing membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for the global and local automotive, aeromotive, stationary power and hydrogen generation technology supply chains. Furthermore, Isondo will develop and manufacture the PGM-containing catalyst utilising a custom-made state-of-art manufacturing plant.
CREATING THE BLUEPRINT FOR A NEW INDUSTRY
Isondo decided to start with setting up a facility to manufacture the heart of every fuel cell & electrolyser – the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) – as the first phase of business operations. South Africa offers several in-country advantages that Isondo is leveraging to advance its business.
MORE THAN 80% OF THE WORLDS PGMS
South Africa mines the minerals (Pt, Ru, Ir) that are vital to the technologies that drive the emerging global hydrogen economy.
COMPREHENSIVE GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT MEASURES
These include attractive incentives available within the Special Economic Zones, funding schemes such as the Black Industrialist Scheme and a raft of other financial incentive schemes.
HIGHLY QUALIFIED RELEVANT TECHNICAL SKILLS
Local higher-education institutions are producing trained graduates up to doctoral level in the fields of fuel cells, catalysis and hydrogen production. allowing Isondo to hire the best skills.
AN ESTABLISHED AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING BASE
South Africa is already home to a well established and advanced automotive manufacturing industry with well-established component supply chains.
Bringing together decades of experience from the PGM mining and global hydrogen fuel cell industries
MR VINAY SOMERA
Chief Executive Officer
Vinay is the founder and CEO of Isondo. He is a veteran of the platinum industry having spent 25 years within the Impala Platinum group across all the functional areas and finally serving as the Implats Group Executive: Market Development & Strategy. While at Implats he created and built Impala Refining Services (IRS), a subsidiary of Implats, from a zero base into a one million platinum ounce refiner with a multi-billion-rand turnover over a ten-year period. Vinay has a BSc in Mathematics and Chemistry and a BCom. He also holds an Executive MBA from the University of Cape Town (GSB).
DR SAKIB KHAN
Chief Operating Officer
Sakib is the COO of Isondo and has 20 years experience in the global fuel cells and related technology industries. Prior to joining Isondo, he worked for leading fuel cell companies such as Intelligent Energy and was responsible for the deployment of fuel cells into real-world applications in South Africa such as healthcare and energy provision for rural communities. He was on the core-planning team that developed South Africa’s National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Strategy. Sakib has BSc in Chemistry with Chemical Technology and Medicinal Chemistry and holds a Doctorate in computational modelling of fuel cell materials.
DR KHOTSO MOKHELE
Chairman of the Board
Khotso is the Chairman of the Isondo board of directors. Khotso is a highly experienced and respected executive locally in South Africa and internationally. He is currently the Chancellor of the University of the Free State, Chairman of the board of directors of Tiger Brands and AECI, Lead independent non-executive director of the MTN board, Non-executive director of Hans Merensky Holdings and President of the Hans Merensky Foundation, and acting Chairperson of the Advisory Council of the African Open Science Platform. In previous roles, he has acted as the non-executive chairperson of Impala Platinum as well as having private sector roles at Adcock Ingram, Arcelor Mittal and Afrox. Khotso was special advisor to the Minister of Science and Technology (Derek Hanekom and Naledi Pandor) as well as being the President of the National Research Foundation. Khotoso holds a BSc in agriculture, an MSc in food science and a PhD in microbiology. He has also had various post-doctoral fellowships and attended the Stanford Executive Programme.
DR MKHULU MATHE
Advisory Board Member
Mkhulu is the Program Manager for the Living Energy Lab Platform at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and is the current Chair for the University of Johannesburg’s Process, Energy and Environmental Technology Station (PEETS). He is a Director for Technifin SOC Ltd., a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI). Other activities include sitting on the sub-committee on Energy Storage at the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy’s committee on Nuclear RDI. Dr Mathe contributes to local and international conferences, is a reviewer to several high impact journals, an academic supervisor and mentor to previously disadvantaged South Africans.
Mkhulu has managed R&D teams involved in energy storage, batteries and fuel cells, including commercialisation of technology. His current research interests focus on the synthesis and characterisation of nanomaterials for energy applications.
Mkhulu holds a BSc and MSc in chemistry and a PhD electrochemistry.
PROF. FERDINAND PANIK
Advisory Board Member
Ferdinand is a member of Isondo’s advisory board. Ferdinand brings decades of relevant fuel cell and automotive industry experience. He was Head of Mercedes-Benz vehicle research and Member of the Executive Board of Mercedes-Benz Brazil, responsible for product development as well as Vice-President of DaimlerChrysler and Group Lead for Strategic Fuel Cell projects, and productisation of fuel cell research. Previous to these roles he was President and CEO XCELLSIS (JV FC company with DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Ballard). Ferdinand was the Initiator of the California Fuel Cell Partnership and part of the Technical management of the GEF/UNDP project “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses in Brazil”. Due to his distinguished career in the automotive fuel cell industry, he is the holder of multiple awards for remarkable contributions to the fuel cell industry. Ferdinand holds a BEng in electrical engineering and a PhD in engineering and is currently Professor for Alternative Vehicle Concepts at the University of Applied Science in Esslingen.
PROF. KATSUHIKO HIROSE
Advisory Board Member
Hirose-san is a member of Isondo’s advisory board. He brings decades of experience in the global automotive industry, especially in the hybrid and fuel cell drive train technologies. He is a strong advocate for the hydrogen economy and travels the world extolling the benefits of hydrogen. He has had a long and distinguished career at Toyota Motor Corporation since 1981. During his time at Toyota, he was the manager responsible for developing the world’s first commercial hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius, and later planner for Toyota’s global hybrid vehicle implementation. He was the Project General Manager and later professional partner for R&D of the Toyota FC system and international hydrogen infrastructure. This included working on the world’s most popular fuel cell electric vehicle, the Toyota Mirai. Five years ago he saw the need to bring together companies from various sectors to work towards realising a hydrogen economy. This idea gave birth to the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led initiative of leading companies with a united vision and long-term ambition: for hydrogen to foster the clean energy transition for a better, more resilient future. Hirose-san holds a BSc in Physics, an MSc in Applied Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He is also the WPI Visiting Professor at the International Institute For Carbon Neutral Energy Research at Kyushu University & an independent consultant for several global companies including Toyota Motor Corporation.