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Anglo to invest in fuel-cell technology via venture capital unit spinout

Anglo American PLC plans to spin out its internal venture capital unit to raise funds for investment in hydrogen fuel-cell technology, the Financial Times reported May 15.

The spinoff will look to buy interests in new hydrogen startups that are focusing on the adoption of fuel-cell cars, instead of battery-powered electric vehicles, Anglo American Platinum Ltd. CEO Chris Griffith said.

Platinum miners are looking to hydrogen fuel cell technology as the next source of demand for the metal. The recent push to reduce emissions from vehicles is expected to result in a lower global demand for platinum due to an expected fall in the percentage of diesel cars in Europe to 46% in 2018, from 48% in 2015. Platinum is used as a catalyst to process exhaust gases in diesel vehicles.

In a May 14 report, the World Platinum Investment Council increased the forecast for global platinum oversupply this year to 180,000 ounces, from 25,000 ounces previously.

Adoption of hydrogen fuel cells by the vehicle industry, which use platinum as a catalyst to lower the fuel-cell's temperature, may result in higher demand for the metal.

Griffith noted that China may drive the demand for platinum as it is supporting the use of fuel-cell technology in trucks and buses.