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Anglo launches world-first hydrogen-powered haul truck

Anglo launches world-first hydrogen-powered haul truck

1st June 2022


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From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, this is the Real Economy Report.

Sashnee Moodley:

Diversified miner Anglo American on May 6 launched the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen-powered mine haul truck, capable of carrying a 290 t payload and generates more power than its diesel predecessor. Marleny Arnoldi attended the launch.

Marleny Arnoldi:

The 2 MW hybrid truck is stationed at the Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine, in Limpopo.

Anglo had been designing the truck and its supporting ecosystem since 2019, in partnership with multinational utility Engie and other energy technology companies Ballard, First Mode and NPROXX.

The NuGen hydrogen ecosystem comprises a 3.5 MW hydrogen electrolyser and hydrogen tanks storing 800 kg of hydrogen at 500 bars of pressure. The ecosystem also has a truck retrofit area and solar photovoltaic panels that feed the mine grid.

Anglo technology development, mining and sustainability head Julian Soles tells us what the hydrogen ecosystem comprises and why this innovation is significant, not only for the Anglo group, but also for the mining industry.

Anglo American technology development, mining and sustainability head Julian Soles:

Marleny Arnoldi:

Anglo aims to have eight mines down to net zero emissions by 2030, which involves replacing its entire diesel fleet. About 80% of the group’s diesel consumption is on large trucks. A diesel mine haul truck of this size uses about 3 500  ℓ/d of diesel, which equates to about one-million litres a year.

The developing partners replaced the 2 700 horsepower diesel engine on the truck with eight parallel fuel cells, totalling 837 kW, and a 1.2 MWh lithium-ion battery. The truck had undergone building, modification and testing in the US for 12 months, before being transported to South Africa for a first motion test in March.

The truck carries 68 kg of hydrogen on board, which is sufficient to operate the truck for one to two shifts, depending on the load. Although the hydrogen-powered truck does not yet deliver the same range of operation as diesel, it does compare in terms of performance and speed.

Soles tells us more about Anglo’s immediate plan to optimise the technology and what it may progress to. 

Anglo American technology development, mining and sustainability head Julian Soles:

Marleny Arnoldi:

While Anglo is undertaking testing and finetuning of the prototype truck, and assuming it proves economically viable to scale to more operations, the company intends on converting all of its mine haul trucks to hydrogen.

The trucks do not yet perform as well on range compared with diesel-powered trucks, despite meeting many of the other performance metrics, and Anglo plans to work on that.

Anglo American process modelling principal Carl Bermann elaborates.

Anglo American process modelling principal Carl Bermann:

Marleny Arnoldi:

Anglo is in the process of finalising its hydrogen fleet rollout plan, but it intends on converting 10 to 20 trucks a year globally, taking three to four years to complete the group’s full 40-truck fleet transition.

If the rollout plan is successful, Anglo could remove up to 80% of its diesel emissions at its openpit mines.

Anglo American Platinum CEO Natascha Viljoen discusses the greater purpose of the hydrogen truck making mining more sustainable, and Anglo’s role in the energy transition and spearheading the hydrogen economy.

Anglo American Platinum CEO Natascha Viljoen:

Marleny Arnoldi:

In his keynote address at the event, President Cyril Ramaphosa remarked how mining is always reinventing itself and will continue to do so for the betterment of society. He highlighted how Anglo’s green hydrogen generation shows how the hydrogen economy has arrived for South Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa:

Sashnee Moodley:

That’s Creamer Media’s Real Economy Report. Join us again next week for more news and insight into South Africa’s real economy. Don’t forget to listen to the audio version of our Engineering News daily email newsletter.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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