Science & Tech

The world’s biggest hydrogen fuel cell EV has started work in South Africa

A two-megawatt hydrogen-fueled powerplant, designed and built by First Mode in Seattle, is installed in a haul truck at Anglo American's platinum mine at Mogalakwena, South Africa. This vehicle is the world's largest zero-emission truck.
Enlarge / A two-megawatt hydrogen-fueled powerplant, designed and constructed by First Mode in Seattle, is put in in a haul truck at Anglo American’s platinum mine at Mogalakwena, South Africa. This car is the world’s largest zero-emission truck.

Anglo American

Mining will all the time be an inherently anti-environment exercise to some extent as a result of complete “digging stuff out of the ground” factor. But mining corporations are part of society, and as society as a complete seems for methods to decarbonize, so too does the mining trade.

In South Africa, mining firm Anglo American desires to set an instance at its platinum mine in Mogalakwena, which has develop into house to one of many world’s largest electrical autos—a 210-metric-ton (463,000-lb) truck powered by hydrogen gasoline cells.

The nuGen haul truck began life as a Komatsu 930E with a diesel-electric powertrain, during which a 16-cylinder engine acted as a generator to energy the truck’s electrical traction motors. Now, that diesel engine is gone, and the haul truck’s traction motors are powered by eight 100 kW hydrogen gasoline cell modules from Ballard and a lithium-ion battery pack from Williams Advanced Engineering able to outputting 1.1 MW, built-in by First Mode in Seattle.

“At First Mode, we know we are at a ‘fire-everything’ moment. The urgency in front of us requires that we deploy every tool and every technology to battle climate change,” stated Chris Voorhees, president and CEO of First Mode. “I’m so proud of the team and our partnership with Anglo American, focused on decarbonization at the source to effect the meaningful, necessary change we all seek. We hope that this zero-emission clean energy breakthrough will inspire others to create significant action in the fight for our planet.”

Peak energy for the gasoline cell powertrain is 2 MW (2,682 hp), which is adequate for the haul truck to retain its 300-metric-ton (661,000-lb) payload ranking. When totally laden, the huge truck and its payload will tip the scales at 510 metric tons (1.1 million lbs).

Of course, the hydrogen has to return from someplace, which is why Anglo American will make it on-site utilizing a 3.5 MW electrolyzer, with electrical energy coming from a 100 MW photo voltaic array. When totally operational, it needs to be able to producing as much as a metric ton of hydrogen a day.

Anglo American says that giant vans like this account for as much as 80 % of its diesel consumption at mine websites, and massive mining vans might be answerable for about 3 % of carbon emissions globally. The firm plans to have 40 hydrogen-powered nuGens working at Mogalakwena by the tip of this decade, in addition to six different websites, together with copper mines in Chile and iron ore mining in South Africa.

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