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Mining Decarbonisation Innovations Charge On

In the global quest to significantly decarbonise mining operations, eight technology innovators’ submissions have been selected to progress beyond the…

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This article was originally published by Australian Mining

In the global quest to significantly decarbonise mining operations, eight technology innovators’ submissions have been selected to progress beyond the Charge On Innovation Challenge.

The global challenge, launched by BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale, sought to accelerate commercialisation of effective solutions for charging large electric haul trucks while simultaneously demonstrating there is an emerging market for these solutions in mining.

The eight innovators selected are ABB, Ampcontrol and Tritium (Australia), BluVeinXL, DB Engineering & Consulting with Echion Technologies, Hitachi, Shell Consortium, Siemens Off-board power supply, and 3ME Technology.

The challenge, launched in 2021, invited vendors and technology innovators from around the world and across industries, to collaborate with the mining industry to present novel electric truck charging solutions.

It received interest from more than 350 companies across 19 industries, with over 80 companies submitting expressions of interest (EOI). 21 companies were then invited to present a detailed pitch of their solution, from which the final eight were chosen.

These technology innovators worked together with the founding patrons – BHP, Rio Tinto, and Vale – and 16 other mining companies to accelerate commercialisation of interoperable solutions that can safely deliver electricity to large battery-electric off-road haul trucks – reducing emissions while enhancing mine productivity.

The challenge

Diesel-powered haul truck fleets are responsible for up to 80 per cent of a mine’s emissions, but electrifying them requires charging systems capable of delivering energy at unprecedented power levels during operations.

The truly global challenge saw the eight winning solution concepts from Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Denmark, Singapore, United Kingdom, and North America.

They are:

  • ABB – Enabling the entire mining value chain to evolve through electrification, automation and digitalisation, embracing a joint industry approach linking the domain expertise of our people with the specialist knowledge of partners for fully integrated systems. Under the ABB Ability eMine purposeful framework of methods and solutions, a dual charging system solution has been designed for stationary and in-motion charging. This is to optimise the electric mine hauling operation with high power, the shortest charging initiation time and limited truck design impacts by leveraging standardised infrastructure and onboard systems and components. This journey of partnership in action, research, development and testing will continue.
  • Ampcontrol and Tritium (Australia) – The Ampcontrol and Tritium mining haul truck battery swap solution is an end-to-end ultra-fast modular recharging station that is fully automated, relocatable, scalable and cell agnostic. An autonomous transfer robot swaps batteries in 90 seconds, significantly reducing safety risks and increasing productivity by excluding personnel from the swap process.
  • BluVeinXL – BluVeinXL is a dynamic charging technology solution for heavy battery electric vehicles in open-pit mining and safely enables the full electrification of heavy mining fleets. It enables the ability for grid power to be used to power the electric drive motors and charge the onboard vehicle battery simultaneously.
  • DB Engineering & Consulting (DB E&C) and Echion Technologies – They have come together to develop a world-leading solution for the electrification of mining trucks. Their catenary and advanced battery technology system combines proven rail industry technology with cutting edge XNO battery chemistry to deliver an unrivalled electric solution
  • Hitachi Energy – The company is proposing an innovative haul truck electrification solution which addresses the sustainability needs of the mining industry without compromising the productivity of the mine. Using Grid-eMotion Flash – a pioneering technology for sustainable e-mobility – the proposed solution will rapidly and safely charge the haul trucks’ batteries in just a few minutes. A holistic and detailed monitoring and control solution for the charging process and the grid connection system is provided by the innovative e-mesh digital solutions for e-mobility.
  • Shell Consortium – For mobile equipment on a mine site, Shell helps to enable a decarbonised, cost neutral end-to-end interoperable electrification system while minimising operational impact. It combines an innovative, high-powered battery solution, with ultrafast charging and a standardised micro-grid energy system.
  • Siemens – Siemens’ patented zero-emission, battery electric haul truck solution combines a proven off-board energy source (trolley substation and overhead catenary) with on-board energy storage (LTO batteries) capable of dynamic 6C and >400kWh in-cycle charging while simultaneously providing increased power to the wheels to decrease overall cycle time and increase productivity.
  • 3ME Technology – The battery and electric vehicle technology company  develops and manufactures safe, scalable, remotely monitored, and reliable battery systems to power heavy-duty mining equipment. 3ME Technology is providing the Charge On Innovation Challenge with a purpose-refined version of its novel Bladevolt battery system to fit the requirements of haul truck operations. The haul truck-specific Bladevolt XL system will be scalable to fit varied truck sizes, composed of the optimum chemistry, cost-effective and compliant with the proposed charging infrastructure, as well as enabled to capture and analyse critical data that will help improve operations going forward.

Next steps

Winners are collaborating with interested mining companies, OEMs and investors to accelerate the technology development to support the future roll-out of zero-emissions fleets.

Challenge facilitator and leading professional services company GHD is now leading the process of establishing consortia to drive the testing of preferred technologies. GHD’s role builds on the significant work of Austmine to launch the challenge, which attracted a number of supporting organisations, OEMs and investors.

GHD chief executive officer Ashley Wright said the company’s role with the challenge was aligned with its Future Energy ambitions of helping clients and communities move sooner towards a future of reliable, affordable and secure low-carbon energy.

Australian Mining.


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