Fortescue partners with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop zero emissions battery electric haul truck

Fortescue Metals Group today announced an agreement with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) to design, build, test and integrate a battery system to power an electric mining haul truck, as an important first step to decarbonising its mining haul fleet.

The project includes the design and construction of a bespoke battery-electric powertrain with the ability to regenerate power as the truck travels downhill. The battery will be built at WAE’s facility in the United Kingdom, before being shipped to Perth for integration into a 240-t prototype haul truck for performance testing at Fortescue’s mining operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

To support the full implementation of a battery-electric haulage fleet, the project will also involve the development of a fast charging unit which will harness renewable energy from Fortescue’s Pilbara Energy Connect network.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the planet and Fortescue is committed to tackling this challenge head on through our industry leading target to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040. This includes a 26% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions from existing operations from 2020 levels by 2030. With around a quarter of these emissions attributed to our mobile haul fleet, this represents a significant opportunity to drive our pathway to being diesel free. Fortescue’s history of developing and adopting innovation and technology has been key to the success of our business and, in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, we look forward to applying this technology-first strategy to our emissions reduction pathway.”

WAE Managing Director, Craig Wilson, said: “We are delighted to be working with Fortescue on this pioneering project that will help enable their future decarbonisation strategy, contributing to a reduction of carbon emissions in the heavy-duty mining sector. Both companies have a shared culture for innovation and rapid response and are committed to creating a sustainable future.”

Back in December, Fortescue confirmed it was in the process of developing an in-house, non-diesel 240 t haul truck prototype to test both battery-electric and fuel-cell electric drivetrain technology in the Pilbara, where phase one involved the design and trial of a battery-electric powertrain on-board a prototype truck, and phase two would consider hydrogen fuel cell powertrains.