An investment partnership between Anglo American Platinum and Shell Technology Ventures (STV) will ensure and support the adoption of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). According to Andrew Hinkly, CEO of Anglo American Platinum’s PGM Investment Programme, the company, together with STV, invested in High-Yield Energy Technologies (HyET), a Dutch company that has developed electrochemical hydrogen compression (EHC) technology.
The technology is a more cost-effective and reliable substitute for mechanical hydrogen compression, both in existing industrial applications and in hydrogen refuelling stations (HRSs). Hinkly says that HyET stimulates demand for platinum directly through use in its products, and indirectly through supporting the adoption of FCEVs, which require platinum-based catalysts. Its EHC technology is expected to play a major role in realising a sustainable hydrogen economy. The company’s latest compressor, the HCS-100, compresses hydrogen by forcing the gas through a platinum-based membrane, to reach pressures of up to 1 000 bars whilst ensuring its simultaneous purification. With no moving parts, the HCS-100 operates at a fraction of the cost of — and is far more reliable than — current mechanical compressors.
Highly compressed hydrogen can store a large amount of energy, much more than conventional batteries can. As a comparison: a car drives about 100km on 1kg of compressed hydrogen, whilst it drives a mere 1km on the energy stored in 1kg of batteries. The ability to compress hydrogen cost-effectively and reliably will play an important part in accelerating the adoption of FCEVs and other vehicles such as fuel cell powered trucks and buses. Thus, by accelerating the commercialisation of HyET’s technology, the investment is aimed at driving demand for platinum directly and indirectly through enabling the adoption of FCEVs, which require platinum-based catalysts.