Could Hydrogen Vehicles Transform Mining?

The mining industry is one of many sectors exploring the possibilities hydrogen-powered vehicles have to offer. From excavators to haul trucks, mining equipment brings many opportunities for hydrogen fuel implementation. This industry is well-suited for lower-emission fuel options as it employs a vast quantity of machines that often operate 24/7. For vehicles in confined spaces, reducing carbon emissions would contribute to better health outcomes for operators by improving air quality and reducing noise of operation. Below, we’ve assembled a selection of recent announcements from equipment manufacturers and mining operations on their efforts to adopt hydrogen fuel technology.

First Mode Hydrogen Haul Truck

Mining haul trucks are some of the largest vehicles on Earth, weighing over 500 metric tons when fully loaded and stretching over three stories tall. Mining operation Anglo American commissioned Seattle-based clean energy company First Mode to develop a hydrogen fuel system to power their haul trucks. Transitioning haul trucks could significantly reduce the emissions of Anglo American’s operations, with each truck estimated to consume 900,000 liters of diesel per year. Powering a vehicle of this size required First Mode to create the world’s largest mobile hydrogen power plant, capable of generating two megawatts of electricity per second. The haul truck was implemented into Anglo American’s mining operations in South Africa.

CNN World-Inventing Tomorrow: The world’s first hydrogen-powered haul truck could help clean up the mining industry

Fortescue Liebherr Hydrogen Excavator

In Australia, Liebherr Mining recently began testing a hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric excavator at an iron ore mining operation. Fortescue provided a prototype Offboard Power Unit to fuel a converted Liebherr R 9400 excavator. The vehicle was originally diesel-powered and was converted to a hydrogen-electric power system. While this vehicle is a prototype, Liebherr plans to offer repowering services for customers to transition their current diesel R 9400 excavators to hydrogen-electric power.

International Mining: Fortescue begins testing of Liebherr electric excavator powered by green hydrogen fuel cells

GM and Komatsu Hydrogen Mining Truck

General Motors (GM) and Komatsu recently announced a partnership to develop a hydrogen-powered mining truck. The truck will feature a GM Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell in a Komatsu 930E Mining Truck and will be tested at Komatsu’s Arizona test facility beginning in the mid-2020s. This partnership combines the innovation and expertise of two leading equipment manufacturers to develop a lower-emissions solution for mining operations.

The Detroit News: GM signs on to another hydrogen fuel cell partnership