Large companies with deep pockets and significant expenses to control are able to try new technologies that have the potential to radically reduce costs and improve profits
Anglo American Platinum, Amplats, (AMS) is the world’s largest producer of platinum and is testing five different prototypes of fuel cell powered locomotives for eventual use at its mines in South Africa. The company is also working with Ballard Power Systems, Inc. (BLD) to produce 15 kW fuel-cell generated electric power units to 34 households over a 12 month period; the fuel cells will be powered by methanol and platinum metals as catalysts.
Fuel Cell Powered Equipment
At one of the company’s mines in Rustenburg, the first fuel-cell powered bulldozer is being trialed. The vehicle is zero-emission vehicle, a great advantage in underground mines where the air is generally less than ideal. In addition to air-quality improvements, acid lead batteries used to power vehicles and machines will no longer be necessary. The remaining four prototypes will be put into service and tested and if successful will be deployed with production of more bulldozers and other fuel-cell powered vehicles to come.
Fuel Cell Powered Electric Grids
The fuel cell powered electric grids, if successful, will be used in small villages of 200 to 300 homes in rural South Africa in 2015. While designed to provide 15 kW of electric power, these system can be extended with batteries to supply as much is 70 kW.
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