SOUTH AFRICA – Norwegian renewable energy company, Scatec, and French energy giant, Engie, have entered into a two-year lease agreement where the former will supply its portable solar systems to help power ENGIE’s hydrogen plant stationed at Anglo American Platinum’s Mokalakwena mine in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
Scatec will supply a 616 kWp containerized mobile solar energy system to ENGIE under its “Release by Scatec” brand.
Working through their scalable power solution, Release, the power producer’s mobile unit will provide solar energy for ENGIE’s hydrogen production plant which will be located at the mine.
Jarno Kruger, Scatec Senior Business Developer said: “The mine aims to convert its fleet of mining trucks to run on hydrogen instead of diesel. Release will supply the renewable energy required to produce the green hydrogen.”
The electrolysis of hydrogen using renewable energy will mark the first commercial production of green hydrogen on the African continent.
“We are proud to support ENGIE and Anglo American in this important project. This is Release by Scatec’s first involvement with powering hydrogen production, and further proves the potential for pre-assembled and containerized solar PV in the mining industry,” says Hans Olav Kvalvaag, SVP Release at Scatec.
Release by Scatec was launched in September 2019 as a service that offers industrial players in emerging markets access to flexible, reliable and low-cost power through solar plant leasing.
Release designs, finances and installs scalable solar power plants and battery storage and leases out the equipment on short- or long-term contracts.
“The agreement is another important milestone for us in delivering reliable and renewable power to the mining industry, but also as a way of powering hydrogen production. The Release model is gaining traction, and with its flexibility, both with regards to contract term and capacity, has great potential in mining,” added Kvalvaag.
Scatec says its new plant will be a model on how to decarbonize hydrogen production in the mining industry and hopes to roll it out on a much larger scale in the future.
This comes as the mining giant recently launched the first green hydrogen fuelling station for zero-emission vehicles at its copper business in Chile.
The plant at Anglo American’s Las Tórtolas flotation facility in the Colina region just to the north of Santiago will produce green hydrogen from reused water from the mining process powered by solar energy from two farms on the site.
The initiative, a first for Chile with its ambitious green hydrogen production plans, also forms part of Anglo American’s sustainable mining plan to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations in that country by 2030.
The hydrogen electrolyzer has a production capacity of 2kg/day, which is dispensed to a zero-emission drive forklift.
In addition, the project incorporates a stationary fuel cell, which reinjects energy into the local electricity grid.
Alongside these activities in Chile, Anglo American is developing the first green hydrogen-powered mining truck in South Africa, with a view to bringing the technology into operation also in Chile within two years.
Anglo American boasts a foundational interest in hydrogen as a founding member of the World Hydrogen Council, which seeks to strengthen the role of hydrogen in a future green economy, including research and demonstration of associated technologies.