Wednesday, September 28

The world’s largest hydrogen truck works in a mine, weighs 510 tons and has its own solar plant

At first glance it looks like a gigantic mining truck, with XXL-size wheels and a large trailer. And it is. That and so much more. When you look under the hood of the prototype that Anglo American wants to operate at its Mogalakwena platinum field in South Africa, you discover that what makes it really special is the combination of its design, size and performance.

Its proposal includes a hybrid propulsion system and is the world’s largest truck of its kind – designed to work in mines… that is propelled with hydrogen.

The new truck incorporates a 2 MW hydrogen battery —with several cells that provide up to 800 kW— and outperforms its diesel predecessor in terms of energy. In terms of capacity, the mining company ensures that it reaches 290 tons. Given that the vehicle itself weighs approximately 220 tons, when it reaches its full capacity it moves around 510 tons.

A green giant designed for mines


“The truck is an adaptation of a diesel-powered vehicle. It uses a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell that provides about half of the power and a battery pack the other half, to enable energy recovery from braking,” the statement said. signature.

Although the vehicle presented in South Africa is a prototype, the company plans to extend it to other farms. Its goal is to “retire” its fleet of trucks, made up of diesel vehicles, and reach the carbon neutrality in two decades.

“Over the next few years, we plan to convert or replace our current fleet of diesel trucks with this zero-emission transportation system powered by green hydrogen. If the pilot is successful we could eliminate up to 80% of diesel emissions in our open pit mines,” explains Duncan Wanblad, CEO of Anglo American. The new truck alone will replace some 40 fossil fuel-intensive diesel vehicles.

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The “zero emissions” model that Wanblad refers to actually goes beyond the new truck. Anglo American is promoting a strategy, called nuGenTM, with which it wants to generate green hydrogen in the mine itself and thus cover the entire process: “A system of production, fuel supply and transportation”, as defined by the company.

What other “pieces” does nuGenTM ​​include, besides the prototype mine vehicle? Basically two: software designed to safely manage power between the vehicle’s cells, batteries and powertrain, and a complex where hydrogen is generated, stored and distributed. The multinational —with mines scattered around the world— specifies that it will include in Mogalakwena the largest electrolyser in Africa and a 140 MW solar plant. Thanks to its energy, it will feed the electrolysis processes that will allow it, in turn, to obtain green hydrogen.

“Given that emissions from the freight truck fleet represent between 10% and 15% of our total Scope 1 emissions, this is an important step in our journey towards carbon neutral operations in 2040”, claims the person in charge of the company. The multinational’s commitment to new forms of mobility coincides with the project to create a “Hydrogen Valley” in South Africa, an initiative in which Anglo American itself is embarking.

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Anglo American’s proposal for its mines joins other bets for the use of hydrogen in trucks that have been happening in recent years.

In December, for example, the French company Gaussin presented a model with 402 horsepower and Mercedes-Benz itself advanced its GenH2 project in 2020, a hydrogen truck prototype with which it aspires to achieve a range of a thousand kilometers. In recent years, other companies, such as Nikola Motors or Hyundai, have also made significant progress.

Pictures | Anglo American Pl

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