In South Africa, Anglo American Platinum has injected US$100 million into German energy storage company Hydrogenious Technologies in a move to develop a hydrogen-based solution for storing renewable energy.

The deal appears to offer benefits to both sides with Hydrogenious receiving the investment it needs to take its HydroStore energy storage system to market, and Anglo American set to benefit from the industrial application in its own production process.

Fabian Kröher, director of Bryanston Resources, who supported Anglo American Platinum in the investment process, considers Anglo American Platinum and Hydrogenious an ideal match.  “While Hydrogenious’ technology has the potential to lead to the breakthrough of fuel cells which use platinum group metals, Anglo American Platinum’s mines could be ideal users of LOHC-based off-grid energy solutions in Africa.”

Use of platinum metals

Hydrogenious Technologies, a spin-off from the University of Erlangen in Nuremberg, Germany, focusses on the safe storage of hydrogen, which is frequently being used as an energy storage medium, using or enabling the use of platinum group metals.

Existing technologies store hydrogen either under extremely high pressures of up to 700 bar, or in liquid form at –253°C. Hydrogenious’ technology binds the hydrogen molecules to liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC), which have diesel-like characteristics. This enables safe and easy to handle, high-density energy storage at ambient conditions, addressing the existing challenges associated with storing gaseous hydrogen.

Mass-fuelling solution?

Andrew Hinkly, executive head of marketing at Anglo American Platinum, said: “Hydrogenious’ technology may be the long awaited solution to efficient, safe and cost-effective hydrogen storage. We believe this could lead to the breakthrough of hydrogen as a mass fuelling solution. Our interest in the success of platinum-based fuel cells for stationary and, longer-term mobile applications could be well served through this type of hydrogen infrastructure solution.”