Auto History, Platinum and South Africa’s Electrical Grid

By November 17, 2008Energy

From the Washington Post obituaries today: “Carl Keith; Created Catalytic Converter“:

Carl D. Keith, 88, who as a principal inventor of the three-way catalytic converter made major contributions to automotive progress, clean air and human health, died Nov. 9 at a hospital in New Bern, N.C. …

Based on chemistry, physics and engineering ingenuity, the three-way catalytic converter scrubbed three noxious gases from automobile exhaust. It curbed smog and eliminated some of the most damaging side effects of the internal combustion engine. An earlier converter got rid of two of the unwanted gases, but the three-way converter took its name from its ability to handle all three of the proscribed substances.

Elsewhere, “African tribe expands venture with Anglo Platinum“:

PHOKENG, South Africa (AP) — One of Africa’s richest tribes embarked on a joint venture Thursday with the world’s largest platinum mining company.

The Bafokeng tribe’s leaders signed a 10.3 billion rand ($1.6 billion) joint venture deal with giant Anglo-Platinum to sink a new mineshaft, more than doubling the output at the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine. The deal will also create 2,000 new jobs.

Niall Carroll, chief executive of Royal Bafokeng Holdings, which manages the tribe’s commercial interests, said that despite the global downturn, he was “quite comfortable” investing in platinum. The precious metal is used in jewelry and automobile manufacturing, where demand is expected to grow because of demand in India and China.

Good luck. It looks like they might even be able to get it out of the ground, judging by the news from South Africa’s government-owned utility. “Eskom dismisses reports of more blackouts in Jan“:

Eskom has dismissed reports that the country will experience two or three week-long blackouts in January and February next year.

Eskom general manager demand side Andrew Etzinger said South Africans could rest assured that the country’s power system was in much better shape than it was a year back.

The rolling national blackouts and daily load shedding that changed South African’s way of life January this year was forced by a drop in the country’s reserve margin to below 5%.


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