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A new source of platinum demand is gaining traction in China as the government throws its financial might behind the development of hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles, potentially creating a market for 500,000oz of the metal and offsetting declines in antipollution devices in diesel engines. China’s government set out a target of 2-million new electric vehicles (NEV), including hydrogen-powered vehicles on its roads by 2020, a figure that Benny Oeyen, the new head of marketing at Anglo American Platinum and former senior manager in various car companies, extrapolated to use up to 500,000oz of platinum in the systems converting hydrogen into electricity. The question raised by analysts is the offset of platinum used in autocatalyst systems on diesel engines to scrub noxious gases from exhaust systems and whether the new environmentally friendly trucks and buses will cannibalise the long-standing source of platinum demand over the longer term. A visit to major cities in southern China s...

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