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Innovative Ways for Energy Generating in South Africa Needed – Minister Rob Davies

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says innovative ways for energy generating and investment are critically needed in South Africa in order to industrialise and create jobs. Davies was speaking at the opening of a R150 million Eternity Power Thermal Harvesting plant in Rustenburg yesterday.

The Eternity Power plant is the first of its kind, in the world, and uses waste heat from the convertor cooling circuit at the Anglo American Platinum Waterval Smelter. The development is collaboration between Vuselela Energy and Anglo American Platinum. The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) 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 incude two potential Special Economic Zones that could be declared based on Platinum Industry value chains and Operation Phakisa on mining sector which is coming up within weeks now,” said Davies.

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. Davies also said that 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.  

Speaking at the same event, the Executive Head of Process at Anglo American Platinum, Mr 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, Mr 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. Hendricks added that the dti played a critical role in the Eternity Power project by providing a Critical Infrastructure Program (CIP) grant towards the infrastructure of the project.

“The project is a first of its kind: it is the first ORC plant in South Africa and is the first time in the world that the technology is being configured in the specific manner at the Anglo American Platinum Waterval smelter. Were it not for the provision of the CIP grant, this project would not have proceeded given the equity and debt providers' perceptions of risk due to the novelty of the project. In our experience, a program like the CIP grant has been highly effective in getting this plant off the ground, principally by sharing risk,” stated Hendricks

Minister Davies responded to Hendricks by saying that government is not there to offer a huge amount of money for the bottom line, but to offer something that will change the behaviour in the long term development direction.

“So, if our R30-million has encouraged the rest of you to go ahead with this project, then it shows the value of our incentive,” said Minister Davies

Minister Rob Davies at the opening of the Eternity Power plant in Rustenburg.

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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