Hydrogen economy support highlighted in first Anglo Platinum climate report
JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Active support for the creation of a viable green hydrogen economy in South Africa and around the world, as well as strong support for a “just energy transition”, is highlighted in Anglo American Platinum’s first climate change report.
The report outlines the JSE-listed mining and trading company’s role as a supplier of platinum group metals (PGMs) and critical base metals to enable a cleaner, greener and more sustainable world with a strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials.
The full scope of the response to climate change is described, including plans to improve energy efficiency and carbon neutrality across operations and the ambition to reduce scope 3 emissions by 50 % by 2040.
The structures in place to ensure that climate change is integrated into decision-making processes and how it fits into the capital allocation framework are also detailed.
“In line with our strategic priority to be a leader in ESG, we expect the role we play in helping to create a green future to create significant value for all of our stakeholders,” said the CEO. from Anglo Platinum. Natasha Viljoen said in a statement to Weekly mining.
PGMs are the key to the mix of energy solutions that will make global decarbonization possible.
“The quality of the ore bodies entrusted to us, which are significant resources with long mine lives and low cost operations, together with our disciplined capital allocation, positions us well to deliver sustainable production and ensure to our customers the responsible standards we meet.
“Our portfolio remains financially resilient in low-carbon pathways, which helps us ensure that future generations will continue to benefit from the metals we produce,” says Viljoen.
The contribution to a “just energy transition” comes in the form of jobs, community support and produced PGMs and base metals.
Beyond operations, Anglo Platinum is committed to market development to expand the number of PGM applications in emission-free transport and green power generation.
Multi-jurisdictional initiatives are being rolled out to promote the adoption of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) for commercial purposes, particularly in the UK, Europe, USA, China and South Africa.
These initiatives aim to accelerate the adoption of heavy-duty FCEVs by aligning end-user demand locations and specifications with the provision of suitable vehicles, as well as access to required hydrogen infrastructure along major freight routes.
Similar multi-jurisdictional initiatives are currently underway to increase adoption of FCEVs for commercial and passenger light-duty vehicles.
COMPUTER CHIPS CONTAINING DRIVEN PGMs
Research and ventures aimed at accelerating the adoption of spintronics containing PGMs and other forms of memory electronics in multiple end uses to encourage low-loss computing applications continue.
This includes funding research into new semiconductor materials involving platinum, palladium and iridium for memory devices, and launching a new software technology company that simplifies the adoption of hardware using these memory devices.
With Northwestern University Illinois, USA, new computer chips containing PGMs are being tested which will dramatically increase computing speed while greatly reducing electricity consumption and increasing battery life. This presents a huge market opportunity given that computer chips are present in many electronic devices.
BATTERY AND STORAGE
Adding PGM to batteries helps improve their performance and is seen as potentially becoming a huge market opportunity and the development of PGM-compatible lithium batteries, primarily through its investment in Lion Battery Technologies, continues. Industry’s ability to create new materials and technologies such as fit-for-purpose additive manufacturing and PGM alloys targeting multiple applications continues to be expanded.
CARBON NEUTRAL RAW MATERIALS
Two new ventures have been launched alongside Deep Science Ventures – Mission Zero Technologies, which is developing exceptionally low-cost technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from air, and Supercritical Solutions which is developing technology that makes low-cost green hydrogen from electricity and heat and under pressure. These two companies have secured multiple investments for others as well as technology evaluation agreements from multiple clients. Other ideas and businesses are explored and tested as part of the business creation program. The companies and ideas that have been launched in this space complement more advanced companies backed by AP Ventures, such as Greyrock and Infinium that use hydrogen and CO2 to manufacture high-value chemicals and fuels, thereby closing the carbon loop.
WASTE AND POLLUTION CONTROL
The potential role of PGMs in removing contaminants from industrial process waste gases that are critical to economic growth and the continued prosperity of society is being investigated. Work is underway with Yibai, a Chinese startup that uses platinum-based catalysts to combat water and air pollution.
ADVOCACY FOR A LOW-CARBON WORLD
Work to inform and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy in markets continues, as well as collaboration in support of technology-neutral policy and regulatory environments, particularly where PGMs can contribute.
In the UK, in addition to supporting existing associations, membership of the Beyond2050 Hydrogen Strategy Now campaign group has been adopted, as well as working to help the UK government establish and publish a UK-wide hydrogen strategy -United. Anglo Platinum is also a member of the UK Government’s Hydrogen Task Force for the 2020 Deployment Roadmap, supporting the Ministerial Hydrogen Advisory Board.
In China, the company made keynote presentations at the annual co-sponsored fuel cell vehicle convention. It has stepped up its participation in multi-city cluster FCEV demonstration programs and carbon/hydrogen sector integration to support China’s carbon neutral ambition.
Despite a limited presence in the United States, the dynamics of hydrogen and climate change at the federal and state level continue to be monitored through membership in the California Fuel Cell Partnership Association and the US Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA). In 2021, Anglo Platinum became a founding member of the Hydrogen Forward Coalition, an end-to-end value chain of representatives coming together to advance hydrogen in the United States.
Over the past six months, exciting developments on the political front have included the approval by the US House of Representatives of a ten-year tax credit to produce clean hydrogen. Through FCHEA, Anglo Platinum has advocated focusing on total system cost instead of relying primarily on PGM savings to support the clean hydrogen electrolysis program.
Viljoen is Anglo American’s representative on the Hydrogen Council, which was launched in 2017 to bring together the CEOs of more than 100 multinational companies. The council acts as a conduit for international corporate efforts on hydrogen.
Anglo Platinum’s membership of Hydrogen Europe involves a partnership with the European Commission through the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking to support research, technology development and demonstration activities in technologies fuel cells and hydrogen in Europe.