About us

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.

THE TEAM

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 a member of Isondo’s advisory board. He the leader of the Energy Materials Research Group at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa and has managed R&D teams involved in energy storage, batteries and fuel cells, and commercialisation of the technology.

Mkhulu regularly contributes as a Strategy Leader for R&D and government policy development. Mkhulu has a BSc and MSc in Chemistry and also holds a PhD electrochemistry. His research interests include Electrodeposition of Materials, Solar Photovoltaics, Nanotechnology for Hydrogen Storage, Electrocatalysis in Fuel Cells and Energy Storage via, Li-ion Battery Storage technologies for Renewable Energy and Electric Vehicles.

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.

DR DAVID HART

Advisory Board Member

David is a member of Isondo’s advisory board. He is a Director at leading fuel cell & hydrogen global market research consultancy E4tech which is recognized as the leading market research company in the fuel cell and hydrogen industry. He as an extensive global network within the industry ranging from government, industry and academia. David holds a BEng in mechanical engineering with German and an MSc & PhD in hydrogen and fuel cell technology and policy. He is also a visiting professor at Imperial College London Centre for Environmental Policy.