Innovation needed for energy generation, investment

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pretoria - Innovative ways for energy generation and investment are critically needed in order for South Africa to industrialise and create jobs, said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Minister Davies was speaking at the opening of the R150 million Eternity Power Thermal Harvesting plant in Rustenburg on Monday.

The Eternity power plant is the first of its kind and uses waste heat from the converter cooling circuit at the Anglo American Platinum Waterval Smelter.

The development is a result of collaboration between Vuselela Energy and Anglo American Platinum.

The Department of Trade and Industry committed R30 million through the Critical Infrastructure Programme (CIP) which supports infrastructure that is critical to investment.

Minister Davies said the Industrial Policy Action Plan has prioritised four value streams within the context of beneficiation.

“One of those is platinum group metals and within the platinum group what we are looking at is jewellery, catalytic converters from motor industry, and fuel cell technology. We have already identified a number of potential tools that we can deploy as government.

“These tools include two potential Special Economic Zones that could be declared based on the platinum industry value chains and Operation Phakisa on mining sector which is coming up,” he said.

He added that the incentive for the infrastructure resulted in the project becoming financially viable, enabling Eternity Power to complete the building and construction of the power plant.

The impact of the plant on South Africa and the economy is remarkable in that technological patents were developed and licensed in South Africa during the process, he said. 

Executive Head of Process at Anglo American Platinum, July Ndlovu, said Anglo American Platinum was pleased to be at the forefront of this innovation as it provides a solution to the energy challenges that an energy-intensive operation like the smelting operation faces.

“We now have clean, sustainable and reliable energy and are proud to open Eternity Power as South Africa’s first thermal harvesting power plant in our operations. The plant is performing beyond expectations, generating more power ahead of its schedule,” he said.

The Director at Eternity Power and H1 Holdings, Reyburn Hendricks, described the smelter sector as an important component of South Africa’s mining and industrial economy.

He said smelters emit large quantities of energy in the form of furnace off-gas as well as the emission of heat. –