Fuel cell on-site power for South Africa's mining HQ

A 100 kW Platinum Power Fuel Cell has been installed for on-site power at the Chamber of Mines offices in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is Africa’s first ever building base-load fuel cell that runs on natural gas, a statement says.

A joint project between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Mitochondria, the newly launched Platinum Power Fuel Cell uses Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology.

DTI Minister Rob Davies set a target of 1000 MW of platinum fuel cell-generated electricity supply by 2020, which would increase platinum demand by 5%.

In a related development, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd has revealed plans to use fuel cells to provide energy at its platinum group metals refinery in Springs, east of Johannesburg, from early 2016.

Implats has also partnered with Mitochondria Energy, with the first phase of the project set to see the mining company installing cells using phosphoric acid fuel cell technology from Fuji Electric in Japan. The fuel cells will operate off excess hydrogen piped in for the metal reduction process and will supply an initial 1.8 MW of power in two tranches. They will also produce heat that will be integrated into the operation. The second phase of the project will involve the installation of a fuel cell facility producing up to 22 MW operating on natural gas and hydrogen that will enable Implats’ refinery to realise its aim of operating off the national electricity grid.

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