Interview: Corrie de Jager on SA firm's hydrogen breakthrough

Corrie de Jager, a Pretoria-based lawyer, joins Duncan McLeod in this episode of the TechCentral podcast to talk about a ground-breaking invention that, he believes, will literally change the world for the better. De Jager, with a team of scientists and other experts from Hydrox Holdings, have developed a “membrane-less” method of separating hydrogen from water, potentially making it possible to produce hydrogen on a mass scale at a cost of just 5-10% of existing techniques. If they’re right – and De Jager explains in detail in the podcast how the technology works – it could help pave the way to the green hydrogen economy of the future. Hydrox’s solution has recently been awarded a patent in the US, and the team is now ready to commercialise the technology, which could, De Jager explains, revolutionise the car industry, among others. Its Divergent Electrode Flow Through Technology (DEFT) is a “game-changer in the production of hydrogen in that it takes a unique approach to electrolysis and does not require the use of a membrane to separate the hydrogen and oxygen produced through the electrolysis process”, the company explains. This is important because hydrogen is an excellent source of clean (carbon-free) energy. However, the methodology of producing hydrogen is capital-intensive, making hydrogen extremely expensive and cost-inefficient as a regular energy source. Cheaper and more accessible hydrogen should enable increased development of hydrogen technologies and increased applications for hydrogen energy as an alternative “off-grid” solution. TechCentral first interviewed De Jager in January 2013. Since then, Hydrox had made significant progress with its prototypes - there has been extensive development, testing, measuring and continual evolution. The company is now looking a “Big Brother” to take the solution to market - are you listening, Elon Musk?