hydrogen
Image credit: Orion Minerals

Mining company Anglo American is working with ENGIE and Williams Advanced Engineering to modify its fleet of mining trucks to make them hydrogen-powered.

According to the Business Insider South Africa, ENGIE will be supplying the hydrogen technology and Williams the battery system, while Anglo American is providing its own Komatsu trucks.

The first rounds of the hydrogen-powered truck production will begin this year, and testing will occur at the platinum group metals mine in Mogalakwena, South Africa before being used in other locations.

Read more about hydrogen

A lithium-ion battery will replace the diesel engine, allowing the FCEV haul truck to be powered by both a battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology, similar to the upcoming electric Nikola Badger pickup truck.

It also gives the mining truck energy storage of up to 1,000kWh, allowing it to work in the same “harsh environments” as a diesel-powered haul truck, according to Williams.

The truck will also have regenerative braking, allowing the vehicle to conserve and recuperate energy while going downhill, according to Williams Advanced Engineering.

Electric vehicles for mining

Electric vehicles for mining, construction and agriculture is expected to be an $87 billion market in 2028, according to market research firm IDTechEx.

Komatsu, John Deere, Caterpillar, and others manufacture the big vehicles – mainly hybrid – while other manufacturers offer smaller, pure-electric versions.

Pure electric is a legal requirement indoors. While for outdoors, fuel-saving and better performance are attracting market interest.

Cranes and man lifters have many applications. Their production volumes are larger than most people realise. So it is with the electric versions set for over 164,000 to be sold in 2028.

Energy storage is a key topic at the African Utility Week and POWERGEN Africa conference. Click here to register to attend or for more information about the event.

This is an industry about to change radically. For example, in mining, over 90% of the world’s mines are open cast. They are often in remote places up to 4,000 m above sea level, where shipping diesel can cost more than buying it.

Consequently, there is now a move to have 350 kW giant haul trucks working the floor and separately the top of the mine with electric rail-veyors lifting the ore from bottom to top.

In an all-electric solution new pollution laws can be met, image improved and money saved, the electricity coming from the mine’s own wind turbines and photovoltaics.

Battery swapping and fast charging of those batteries mean 350kWh batteries suffice – big but no larger than those in other EV sectors.

The report from IDTechEx, Electric Vehicles for Construction, Agriculture and Mining 2018-2028, explains all this and gives detailed forecasts, comparisons and assessments.

It shows how mines will electrify much more but only after the current bust period of the boom-and-bust that characterises this industry.

Additional content source: Mining Review Africa