Mining Operators Must Take Hydrogen Seriously, Law Firm Webinar Says


JOHANNESBURG ( – Miners must take hydrogen and fuel cells very seriously as a path to decarbonization, a webinar hosted by law firm Fasken heard this week.

“There is no path to zero carbon that does not include hydrogen and fuel cells”, CEO of H2GO Canada Bob Olivier said emphatically in response to the co-lead of the Fasken Hydrogen and Energy Advisory Team Dan Brock, who hosted the webinar in which the CEO of Bimaadzwin Isadore’s Day, Change the main energy Rymal smith and director of Change Energy Al Davidson also participated.

“The marginal cost of emitting carbon into the atmosphere is increasing exponentially,” Oliver said during the discussion covered by Weekly Mining.

Heavy industry, faced with the prospect of reducing the carbon intensity of its operation to zero, needed all possible end uses to achieve zero, and hydrogen has been able to fill the void left by processes that cannot be electrified, said Oliver, who himself drives a Hyundai Nexo hydrogen fuel cell car.

Oliver spoke about the technical and economic performance of hydrogen and fuel cell technology reaching the point of 30,000 to 40,000 hydrogen fuel cell forklifts for handling and logistics work and 10,000 electric vehicles. fuel cell for transportation across North America.

The properties of hydrogen that made it attractive as a decarbonization route, he said, were that hydrogen was a carbonless molecule, usable for energy, mobility and heat, and capable of being stored indefinitely.

Hydrogen could also be burned to produce heat, without emitting carbon dioxide, in addition to fuel cells that can generate electricity.

Hydrogen production and some key hydrogen technologies rely on the special catalytic properties of platinum group metals (PGMs), the vast majority of which are hosted in South Africa. In particular, proton exchange membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells catalyzed by PGMs are widely used.

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert the energy of a chemical reaction directly into electricity, with heat and water as byproducts. Platinum and ruthenium play an important role in hydrogen fuel cells. Unlike batteries, hydrogen fuel cells never “run out,” says the International Platinum Group Metals Association. Additionally, green hydrogen is generated using platinum and iridium, another PGM.

Smith reported that he and Davidson built several hydrogen refueling stations before leading the hydrogen village program for the federal government of Canada.

As part of the Hydrogen Village program, 20 large demonstration projects were deployed across the Greater Toronto Area, including five hydrogen vehicle refueling stations.

“It’s possible to make low-carbon hydrogen in the north and apply it to mines and that’s going to be an improvement over what is now a diesel-centric operation where diesel sometimes came through. plane early and it’s extraordinarily carbon intensive, ”Davidson said.

Smith added that there would be places where it would be easy to make hydrogen and mining operations very suitable for using hydrogen.

“It’s about finding those blends and developing them, almost on a case-by-case basis to determine what that value proposition is,” Smith said.

During Fasken’s webinar in March, the CEO of Hydrogen Optimized Andrew T Stuart spoke about all the mines with the ability to generate their own green electricity no matter where they are in the world due to the ubiquity of sun and wind around the world.

That way, carbon could be removed from the extraction process to the greatest extent possible, with the potential for new value to be opened up for customer mines wanting green products, Stuart said.

“Some places will be better than others,” but it really is green electricity everywhere for everyone, stressed Stuart, noting customers’ growing preference for green production, including green steel from of green iron ore that allows manufacturers to produce green products such as green cars. In addition, the high-value application of green hydrogen fueling large mining trucks seemed, he said, very attractive, with mini-grids aggregating electricity that had been installed for the sole purpose of produce green hydrogen. “One of the beauties of hydrogen is that you can produce it locally,” Stuart said at the time.

Weekly Mining can interestingly report that Stuart’s educational electrochemical genealogy dates back to the famous London scientist in electricity and electrochemistry, Michael faraday, who worked with Monsieur William grove, the discoverer of the fuel cell, whose global demand is now increasing by leaps and bounds.


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