The refinery already has a supply of available hydrogen to fuel the cells and would need some 20 MW of fuel-cell power if it were to do without the Eskom grid.
In the interim, plans for an initial 2 MW fuel cell, which would be the biggest such unit in the southern hemisphere, are at an advanced stage.
“We’re going ahead with the project to put in the 2 MW unit at the refinery. The benefit of that for us right now is that we can do away with all of our generators, peaks and reduce our reliance on Eskom in that way,” Implats CEO Terence Goodlace told Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online in a video interview on Tuesday, when the company reported 3.6% lower half-year revenue at R15.9-billion and a 40.7% higher unit cost of R22 952/oz caused by 10.4% group inflation.
“We’ve got a ready supply of hydrogen, which we use in the refinery and we’re looking at taking the whole of our refinery off grid power through putting in fuel cells,” Goodlace outlined, adding that at mine level, fuel cells were also being tested to power locomotives and load haul dumpers.