WAE working on world's largest hydrogen-powered mine truck

Williams Advanced Engineering partner with Anglo American on world’s largest electrified mining truck GLOBAL mining company Anglo American have engaged UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) to support the development of their new fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) – an ultra-class electrically powered haul truck, which is set to be the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mining truck. As part of their FutureSmart Mining programme, which applies innovative thinking and technological advances to address the mining industry’s major sustainability challenges, Anglo American have committed to reducing their global greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

Putting electrified vehicles into mines – from large haul trucks to passenger vehicles and employee buses – will help Anglo American reach these ambitious decarbonization targets, set out in their Sustainable Mining Plan. Set to revolutionize mining machinery, the FCEV haul truck will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell module paired with a WAE scalable high-power modular lithium-ion battery system. This innovative arrangement, which replaces the vehicle’s diesel engine, is controlled by a high-voltage power distribution unit delivering in excess of 1,000kWh of energy storage.

Through regenerative braking, the battery system will be capable of recovering energy as the haul truck travels downhill. Offering significant peak power capability, it will also deliver the robustness seen in industrial diesel engines for harsh environments. The power units will be designed and built at WAE, in Grove, Oxfordshire, and integrated into an existing mining haul truck, with testing taking place in South Africa later this year.

For the project, WAE have drawn on their extensive experience as the sole battery supplier to the FIA Formula E global motorsport series for the first four seasons. WAE are also the sole battery supplier to the new FIA Extreme E racing programme, which begins in 2021. In line with Anglo American’s commitment to sustainable mining, studies will take place after the initial trials to understand how these power units can be used to provide energy storage in second-life applications.

Craig Wilson, managing director of Williams Advanced Engineering, commented: ‘We are delighted to be involved in this innovative and exciting project, which showcases the scalability of battery technology from automotive and motorsport to heavy-duty industrial applications. ‘Operating within a harsh environment is something we are familiar with as sole battery supplier for the Extreme E programme, and we remain committed to supporting long-term sustainability projects.’ Julian Soles, head of technology development for Anglo American, added: ‘We look forward to working with Williams Advanced Engineering to deliver this important step-change technology, a true world first for a vehicle of this size and load capacity.

‘With their extensive industry experience, we believe Williams can help us to deliver this groundbreaking project, which is part of our plan to create a smart energy mix that moves us closer towards our carbon and energy targets for 2030 and, ultimately, our vision of operating a carbon-neutral mine.’

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