Anglo American says fuel cell-battery hybrid mining truck project at Mogalakewna entering final phase with testing start Q4 2021

Anglo American in its just released Interim Results for 2021 has given an update on its FCEV (hydrogen fuel cell-battery hybrid) mining truck project development, which is in its final stages. The results presentation showed an image of the Komatsu 930E 291 t class truck ready for conversion and the mining group said that final testing is underway in the US of the 2 MW hybrid Ballard Power Systems fuel cell and Williams Advanced Engineering battery power module; along with the power electronics. This is all being done at integrator & technology partner First Mode’s Seattle facilities in the US.

This is all being shipped to the Mogalakewna mine in South Africa in October 2021 along with the hydrogen storage rack which is also in final testing and commissioning at NPROXX’s Germany location. Beyond that the Nel 3.5 MW electrolyser plant for hydrogen production and Plug Power refuelling systems are set for November commissioning. The release added on the FCEV truck that “On-site testing and validation programme at Mogalakwena (PGMs) will commence in Q4 2021, with 40 truck roll-out planned to start in 2024, powered by a local solar plant.”

Further details on progress were supplied in Anglo American Platinum’s own Interim Results booklet: “Significant development and testing has continued on our fuel-cell mining haul-truck, which is on track to be delivered to Mogalakwena by the final quarter of the year.” It cited that major milestones include: completed design, building and testing of a 1.1 MW/h battery pack for haul truck application; completed design, building and testing of multiple fuel cell modules in parallel that deliver up to 800 kW of power; completed building and testing of control software necessary to safely manage power and energy between fuel cells, batteries and the vehicle drivetrain; completed, design, building and testing of new thermal management system; completed mechanical integration of fuel cells and battery systems; plus performance of high-speed hydrogen-refuelling tests.

Anglo American Platinum added: “In conjunction, the site is being prepared at Mogalakwena, and the design and build for all the supporting infrastructure for electrolysers, storage and refuelling is complete. The electrolyser building is complete, with the installation of hydrogen production equipment in progress. High-pressure compressors for refuelling have been installed, with first hydrogen production scheduled for the final quarter of the year.”

Finally a note on expansion of the technology to other Anglo operations. In its Interim Results, Kumba Iron Ore in the associated presentation referred to”hydrogen pilot truck studies in progress” then gave more detail in the full discussion: “At the start of the year, Kumba set a 2030 target  to reduce Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 30% through the use of hydrogen trucks and solar renewable energy, leveraging the high solar intensity at our mines in the Northern Cape. Together with the Anglo American group the studies have progressed and sites have been identified for the renewable energy plant in the first half. A further update will be provided at the end of the year.” While Kumba like Mogalakewna operates Komatsu trucks, they are different models from the 930Es at Mogalakwena – 100 Komatsu 860E and 960E haul trucks at Sishen plus 36 Komatsu 730E trucks at Kolomela. As part of its P101 efficiency drive, on the truck fleet the focus has been on improving payload performance and both the Sishen 860 and Kolomela 730 fleets are now operating at 101% of rated payload.