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On-The-Air (16/02/2024)

Martin Creamer discusses major green-hydrogen economy developments in SA

16th February 2024

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Bongiwe Zwane speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:

Zwane: BMW this week put the first fleet of green-hydrogen cars on to South African roads.

Creamer: This was sheer driving pleasure, but even beyond that, this is the cleanest and greenest way you can perform. This is something fantastic for South Africa, because it is a combination of using our platinum. Our platinum not only creates the hydrogen, but it also creates the electricity from the hydrogen that drove the cars that journalists drove around Midrand.

Now, we are always talking about refuelling. Sasol came to the party, a great refuelling system was provided. This is a collaboration effort, which also includes Anglo American platinum, an acknowledgement of the key contribution to all this by South Africa’s platinum group metals. We see it sweeping around the world and it is wonderful to now have green, clean hydrogen mobility in South Africa in the form of a fleet of BMW hydrogen driven cars, making sure Mother Earth is protected, and the planet is kept safe.

Zwane: Research began this week to bring more of South Africa’s magical platinum group metals into the hydrogen economy.

Creamer: Wonderful news coming through from Germany and South Africa. We have got Sibanye-Stillwater here in South Africa. There is Heraeus in Germany. They are combining to make sure that there is always a balance of demand for our platinum group metals. We have got more platinum group metals than anyone else on earth. These are magical metals, as we can see what they do. They convert renewable energy. When you put sun and wind energy through water, you get the hydrogen with the help of our platinum group metals.

Then, when you get the electricity, it is platinum that again that helps to generate that in a manner that enables us to drive cars and even provide off-grid power. So, what Sibanye and Heraeus are doing now is they are looking beyond just platinum and iridium, the metals usually associated with green hydrogen generation and fuel cell power, and they’re researching how palladium can be involved in hydrogen. Massive research is going into that after just succeeding in also bringing ruthenium in, which is another platinum group metal. So, we want to make sure that there is proper balance and we can meet demand by mixing and matching these metals for the world’s new green era.

Zwane: A high-profile delegation from Japan is in South Africa to study joint green hydrogen development opportunities.

Creamer: Just green, green and green this week. The Japanese came in on Monday and they had a summit. A delegation of 27 Japanese spread through the country. They went through Gauteng, they went to OR Tambo’s special economic zone, they went to Western Cape, because there are activities there around green hydrogen, also in Vereeniging. What they are saying is that they want to see what is available at the moment. they will see whether there are investment opportunities.

If there are, it will be great for our economy, because we need jobs, jobs and more jobs. As that comes in with this green economy, it can transform us. We can become energy independent and all those refineries down the coast can be converted to hydrogen. So, a massive display of confidence by the world in South Africa, in its platinum group metals, and also in South Africa’s ability to use the sun and the wind to generate a new era of clean, green electricity. We are hoping that this will involve a lot of investment.

Zwane: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News & Mining Weekly.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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