In 2000 the Catalysis Group at Mintek was initiated to undertake Project AuTEK that is primarily focused on gold catalysis. By building catalysis R&D capacity and expertise the Catalysis Group has expanded its activities to include gold and the platinum group metals where R&D is now conducted under three main programmes, Project AuTEK, the Advanced Metals Initiative, and HySA Catalysis.
Project AuTEK catalysis is a joint venture between Mintek and AngloGold Ashanti that has the ultimate aim of increasing the industrial usage of gold by developing and commercializing gold-based catalysts and specific applications using gold-based catalysts.
R&D in the project is focused on commercial scale production of gold catalysts in various forms, gold catalyst formulations, and applications in emission control, fine chemicals production, and petrochemical processing.
A significant achievement of Project AuTEK has been the successful scale-up of gold catalyst production and making these materials commercially available in quantities ranging from a few grams to several hundreds of kilograms.
For more details on the project and how to order the AUROLiteTM range of gold catalysts please visit the AuTEK Catalysis website.
The Advanced Metals Initiative is a programme initiated and funded by the Department of Science and Technology. Mintek takes the lead in platinum group metals and gold catalysis R&D that is conducted under the Precious Metals Development Network. Several Universities in South Africa are also part of the network.
The long term aim of the AMI-PMDN is the establishment of a precious metals catalyst industry and a precious metals chemicals industry in South Africa. This will primarily be done through technology transfer of R&D outcomes to local industrial partners.
R&D in the Catalysis Group is currently aimed at the development of scaled-up production of PGM-on-carbon catalysts used for example in fine chemicals production.
Further information on the AMI programme can be found on the AMI website.
HySA Catalysis, which is jointly hosted by Mintek and the University of Cape Town, is one of three centres of competence established by the Department of Science and Technology to implement its Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Research Development and Innovation Strategy.
HySA Catalysis is tasked to develop and deliver all catalysts required by the greater HySA programme for the specific applications being developed at each centre. These include the catalyst for both high and low temperature PEM fuel cells, DMFC fuel cell catalysts, PEM electrolyser catalysts, and fuel processing catalysts. MEAs and stacks for low temperature PEM fuel cells fuelled with pure hydrogen, LPG reformate, or methanol are also being developed, mostly for application in portable/small-stationary power devices.
At Mintek the first generation of 20 – 70 wt% Pt/C catalysts have been produced at a technical relevant scale and are now being incorporated into early generation MEAs at Mintek and the University of Cape Town. A second focus at Mintek is technical scale production of PtRu/C catalysts and MEAs and stacks for DMFC.