World’s largest hydrogen-powered dump truck to start testing in Africa

Anglo American, ENGIE, and Williams Advanced Engineering have declared plans to develop and fuel the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck, a 290-tonne behemoth with a high voltage battery system.

Global mining company Anglo American made an announcement back in October a partnership with French energy company ENGIE to develop and fuel the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck, part of the company’s sustainable mining effort which will see the company lessen its global greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

At the time, it was anticipated “first motion” of the hydrogen powered truck would take place sometime in 2020 followed by a testing and validation program at Anglo American’s Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine in South Africa.

Fast forward to earlier this month, and UK-based technology and engineering services company Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) announced that they had been involved by Anglo American to help develop a new Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) – an ultra-class electrically powered mining haul truck which, upon completion, would emerge as the world’s largest hydrogen powered mine truck.

The intended mine haul truck will be powered by a hydrogen Fuel Cell Moule paired with a WAE scalable high-power module lithium-ion battery system.

Intended to replace the existing vehicle’s diesel engine, this new hydrogen/battery arrangement will be controlled by a high voltage power distribution unit delivering in excess of 1,000 kWh of energy storage.

WAE expect the resulting vehicle will deliver “significant” peak power capability” and provide the “robustness” usually reserved for diesel powered mine haul trucks. Including regenerative braking – which will permit the battery system to recover energy as the haul truck travels downhill – testing will start later this year at the Mogalakwena platinum group metals mining operation in South Africa, Anglo American’s flagship PGMs mine.

Craig Wilson, MD of Williams Advanced Engineering said, “We are delighted to be involved in this inventive and thrilling project which showcases the scalability of battery technology from automotive and motorsport to ‘heavy duty’ industrial applications,”

“Functioning within a harsh environment is something we are well acquainted with as sole battery supplier for the Extreme E programme and we remain devoted to backup long-term sustainability projects.”

“We have a long-lasting pledge as a leader in responsible mining, with various examples of our progressive business decisions across many decades and we look onward to working with Williams Advanced Engineering to deliver this essential step-change technology, a true world first for a vehicle of this size and load capacity,” added Julian Soles, Head of Technology Development for Anglo American.

“With their far-reaching industry experience, we believe Williams can help us to carry this ground-breaking project, which is part of our plan to create a smart energy mix that moves us nearer towards our carbon and energy targets for 2030 and, eventually, our vision of operating a carbon-neutral mine.”

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