Charting A Hydrogen Roadmap
However, over the years the industry has not made much progress in expanding and growing the applications base for PGMs. More recently though government and the PGM industry have been making strides in developing a hydrogen roadmap.
Speaking at the recently held Joburg Indaba, Mineral Resources and Energy Director General advocate Thabo Mokoena said the department had been directed by Minister Gwede Mantashe to come up with a clear policy on hydrogen.
“South Africa has an abundance of PGMs, and as a country we could certainly do better in supporting the industry,” he said.
Added to this, the world’s largest marketers of PGMs, Anglo American, said it was investing in South Africa’s hydrogen economy through a joint investment with the Public Investment Corporation.
According to Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani, the initiative will help develop the market for PGMs by providing start-up capital to businesses that use PGM-based technologies in their products and processes.
“This substantial investment is geared to stimulate and sustain the demand for South Africa’s PGMs in the long term, while preserving the mineral wealth of all South Africans,” he said.
In line with progressing its commitment to investing in the hydrogen economy, Anglo American has partnered with Engie to develop a hydrogen truck.
“Engie is providing the hydrogen generation solutions, and Anglo American is developing the truck. This collaboration marks the first time a truck of this size and load capacity has been converted to run on hydrogen.”
“First motion” of the hydrogen-powered truck was expected in 2021, followed by a testing and validation programme at Anglo American Platinum’s Mogalakwena PGMs mine, after which the trucks were scheduled for deployment at Anglo American’s mining operations.
“The haul truck use case is compelling from an economic, environmental and technical perspective. Using solar energy to produce the hydrogen – in other words ‘green hydrogen’ – it will also allow us to more easily expand the use of hydrogen into other parts of our operations once established. Embracing these opportunities is critical for the industry in South Africa to continue to thrive and create job opportunities for many South Africans,” Cutifani said.