JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) expects the autocatalyst sector to remain a significant driver of platinum demand.
In the last year, autocatalyst demand continued to grow, with sales in Western Europe up 6%. This, CEO Chris Griffith said, was as a result of slightly higher loading, owing to Euro 6b legislation – the sixth iteration of the European Union directive to reduce harmful pollutants from vehicle exhaust emissions.
Speaking to Mining Weekly Online, on Wednesday, Griffith noted that while there has been growing interest in using lithium-ion batteries in vehicles, which could possibly impact on the market share of autocatalyst and fuel-cell vehicles, the company remained positive about the prospects for fuel cells.
“It is clear that a decent number of battery electric vehicles have been launched and that the technology is slowly taking some market share. However, we remain confident that fuel cells will succeed,” he said, adding that good progress on the number of vehicle models, in light and heavy duty vehicles, has been made to date.
Citing recent reports, Griffith pointed out that automotive giants General Motors and Honda were investing $85-million to mass produce hydrogen vehicles, which would further boost the industry.
In 2016, around 2 699 fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) were sold, a significant surge from the 641 units sold in 2015.
Griffith highlighted that the company was also working on creating ongoing awareness of the benefits of fuel cells. In October, Amplats partnered with the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association on advocacy work in the US.
“Work that went on was a zero-emissions, zero-compromise campaign aimed at promoting fuel cells and hydrogen as a viable alternative to the battery electric vehicle and the conventional internal combustion engine,” he said.
The campaign further aimed to create and sustain a positive policy environment for FCEVs and hydrogen infrastructure, to raise opinion leader and decision-maker awareness of and support for FCEVs and hydrogen, to address negative perceptions of both FCEVs and hydrogen and to promote the advantages of these vehicles in meeting energy and environmental goals.