World's largest EV will be a mine truck
Fuel cell electric truck being developed for Anglo American Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – February 26, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:22am
Global miner Anglo American has teamed up with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop the world's largest electric vehicle – an ultra-class mining haul truck.
A hydrogen fuel cell module and bank of lithium-ion batteries will replace the diesel engines that have traditionally powered these mega-earthmovers. This massive power source and storage system is controlled by a high voltage power distribution unit delivering in excess of 1,000 kilowatt-hours of energy to the 290-metric-ton truck it is being installed in.
Anglo American expects that the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell electric haul trucks is a first step in a power system that will revolutionize mining machinery.
Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are also a natural fit for the South African mining company that also happens to be the largest producer of platinum, which serves as a catalyst to convert oxygen and compressed hydrogen into electricity. Water is the exhaust product of this reaction.
The development of electric powered haul trucks is part of Anglo American's FutureSmart Mining program, which applies innovative thinking and technological advances to address mining's major sustainability challenges. As part of this program, the global miner has committed to reducing its global greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
Putting electrified vehicles into mines – from large haul trucks to passenger vehicles and employee buses – will help Anglo American reach these ambitious decarbonization targets.
"We have a longstanding commitment as a leader in responsible mining, with numerous examples of our progressive business decisions across many decades and we look forward to working with Williams Advanced Engineering to deliver this important step-change technology, a true world first for a vehicle of this size and load capacity," said Anglo American Head of Technology Development Julian Soles.
With FCEV technology, the company does not believe it will be sacrificing performance for water vapor exhaust.
The power units being designed and built by Williams Advanced Engineering in England, are expected to produce significant peak power capacity and deliver the robustness seen in industrial diesel engines for harsh environments.
Through regenerative braking, the battery system will be capable of recovering energy as the haul truck travels downhill.
The first of these power systems will be integrated into an existing mining haul truck and tested at Mogalakwena, Anglo American's flagship platinum group metals mine in South Africa.
In line with Anglo American's commitment to sustainable mining, studies will take place after the initial trials to understand how these power units can be used to provide energy storage in second life applications.
"We are delighted to be involved in this innovative and exciting project which showcases the scalability of battery technology from automotive and motorsport to 'heavy duty' industrial applications," said Williams Advanced Engineering Managing Director Craig Wilson.
For the haul truck project, Williams Advanced Engineering has drawn on its extensive experience as the sole battery supplier to the FIA Formula E global motorsport series for the first four seasons. The engineering firm is also the sole battery supplier to the new FIA Extreme E racing program, an off-road racing series slated to get underway next year.
"Operating within a harsh environment is something we are familiar with as sole battery supplier for the Extreme E program and we remain committed to supporting long-term sustainability projects." said Wilson.
"With their extensive industry experience, we believe Williams can help us to deliver this ground-breaking project, which is part of our plan to create a smart energy mix that moves us closer towards our carbon and energy targets for 2030 and, ultimately, our vision of operating a carbon-neutral mine," Soles added.