Cat unveils two electric mining prototypes
Metal Tech News - November 23, 2022
Last updated 12/6/2022 at 2:28pm
Demonstration of Cat 793 Electric mining truck; new mine site of the future to be built at Tucson test site.
With executives from some of the world's largest mining companies on hand to witness the historic event, Caterpillar Inc. carried out its first demonstration of a battery electric 793 large mining truck prototype at the heavy equipment company's proving grounds south of Tucson, Arizona.
Roughly as tall as a two-story building and capable of carrying nearly 500,000 pounds of rock, the 793 class Cat truck represents the type of heavy haulers used to effectively and efficiently move ore at global mines. With virtually every major mining company in the western world committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, alternatives to the diesel that traditionally powers these ore-hauling behemoths are needed.
This is why global mining companies such as BHP, Freeport-McMoRan, Newmont Corp., Rio Tinto, and Teck Resources Ltd. joined Caterpillar's Early Learner program focused on accelerating the development and validation of Cat battery electric trucks at participating customers' sites.
"Our global team came together to develop this battery truck at an accelerated pace to help our customers meet their sustainability commitments," said Resource Industries Group President Denise Johnson.
Representatives from Caterpillar's Early Learner were the first to witness a live demonstration of the prototype Cat 793 Electric mining truck running a 4.3-mile test track at Caterpillar's proving grounds in Arizona.
Loaded to capacity, the battery-electric truck accelerated to a top speed of 37.3 miles per hour. The truck averaged 7.5 MPH while climbing a 10% grade for 0.6 miles and regenerated energy while making a 0.6-mile run down a 10% grade to help recharge the battery.
"This demonstration is a significant milestone, and we are excited for these trucks to get to work at customers' sites around the world in the near future," said Johnson.
Electric mine prototype
A demonstration of 793 Electric was not the only milestone announced by Caterpillar – the very site where the battery electric mining truck was tested is being transformed into a prototype of the future electric mine.
For more than 30 years, Caterpillar's 6,500-acre Tucson Proving Ground in Green Valley has served as the testbed for new products and technologies before they are ready for commercialization. Moving forward, this proving ground will serve as a working, sustainable "mine site of the future" powered by a variety of renewable energy sources.
Caterpillar's objective at the soon-to-be electric mine of the future proving grounds is to implement the same sustainable solutions mining companies will use at their own operations to learn firsthand what it takes to run an electrified mine site and effectively support customers through the changes.
"The transformation of the Tucson Proving Ground allows Caterpillar to demonstrate our energy transition commitments and serve as a stronger advisor to customers as we navigate the changes together," said Johnson.
As part of the transformation, Caterpillar is installing green hydrogen production, natural gas and hydrogen engine power generation, fuel cell power generation, and expanded energy storage systems at the Tucson Proving Ground.
The site will also leverage wind, solar, and hydrogen renewable energy sources to power the facility and its products as they become electrified.
With these sustainability technologies in place, the Tucson electric mine of the future proving ground will serve as a learning platform for optimizing charging and energy management integration.
"We know it will take an integrated, site-level solution for miners to achieve their carbon-reduction goals, and we're here to help as they redefine the way they mine for generations to come," emphasized Johnson.