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Major new global hydrogen thrust brightens spotlight on platinum group metals

Supported are production, transport, storage, industrial application, fuel cell energising and recycling.

Supported are production, transport, storage, industrial application, fuel cell energising and recycling.

10th January 2024

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A major new initiative by long-standing South Africa associate Heraeus Precious Metals this week drew renewed and intensified attention to the widespread role of platinum group metals (PGMs) in the burgeoning hydrogen economy.

Hot on the heels of last month’s far-reaching iridium-thrifting, hydrogen-boosting breakthrough, which was achieved in collaboration with South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater, Germany’s Heraeus Precious Metals this week announced the creation of the dedicated new Business Line Hydrogen Systems.

This new focus is yet another example of the adroit way in which Heraeus Precious Metals has continuously expanded its transition-linked operations, exemplified last year by its key investments in new production capabilities in Nanjing, China, and additional recycling capacities in Hanau. All investments and expansions are aligned with the objective of shaping the sustainability of the PGMs industry.

Business Line Hydrogen Systems is being led by Heraeus Precious Metals new business development executive VP Dr Philipp Walter to provide PGMs-linked products for electrolysers and fuel cells and electrocatalyst solutions for next generation applications, along with production capacities for the recovery of PGMs from production scrap and end-of-life materials, such as catalyst coated membranes.

The new unit is serving as a central point for PGM applications in the hydrogen economy.

“We’re strong innovators and support our customers’ businesses end-to-end,” Walter stated.

Driven by its core expertise in electrocatalysts, the company continues to expand its research and development efforts beyond proton exchange membrane technology.

“Accelerating the transition to a hydrogen-based economy requires harnessing the best of each expert’s specialty,” Hydrogen Systems Business Line innovation head Dr Christian Gebauer commented in a release to Mining Weekly.

In the 2022 financial year, the group, which dates back to a family pharmacy started in 1660, generated revenues of €29.1-billion with 17 200 employees in 40 countries. By 2025, the 3 000-employee, 15-site Heraeus Precious Metals expects to be carbon neutral.

In South Africa, Heraeus operates from a marketing and sales office in Boksburg as well as a precious metal chemical compounds production and refinery site in Gqeberha.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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