CharIN Mining Taskforce officially launched to address charging interoperability

The challenge of electrifying mining haul truck operations has taken a step forward with the formal launch today of the CharIN Mining Taskforce, a partnership between global organisations CharIN and ICMM. The partnership enables ICMM to address technical bottlenecks around the interoperability of battery-electric charging systems for the roll-out of zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission mining vehicles, expected to begin this decade.  

The statement said: “Diesel-powered mining vehicles currently account for 30 to 50% of direct emissions at a mine site, and up to 80% in some cases, and electrifying them will be crucial to help to achieve global decarbonisation goals. While CharIN has been instrumental in establishing the Combined Charging System (CCS) international standard for charging passenger electric vehicles and the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) for heavy transport, a new high-power charging solution is needed for the mining industry due to the large size of haul trucks.”

It adds: “Addressing interoperability and standardisation for charging solutions early on could help to reduce duplication in charging infrastructure for mines around the world – an important step in accelerating the implementation of battery-electric technology on sites, while enabling increased operational efficiency, reliability, and safety.”

CharIN’s 300+ members in the e-mobility community, including manufacturers and technology suppliers, offer unique access to rapidly specify and test technologies. ICMM’s 26 company members provide industry expertise and access to a range of operations in different geographies and conditions. This access the partners say “is critical for trials to prove these technologies are fit for the harsh environmental conditions and complex operations in mining.”

Taskforce participants, including BHP, Rio Tinto, Shell, ABB, and GHD, will define requirements, pilot, and test the technical capabilities of the interoperable ruggedised charging solutions in mining environments. This will aid in defining the requirements for both a higher power stationary charging plug and a dynamic (in-motion) charging interface for use on mining sites.  

Claas Bracklo, Chairman of CharIN e.V., said: “CharIN members represent all the various industries in the e-mobility ecosystem, from grid to charging point operators to heavy equipment makers to standardisation and testing organisations. Our members’ in-depth knowledge of the charging ecosystem and its ISO 15118 data communication, e-mobility experience, and the technical requirements needed to develop and test new charging systems and e-mobility services make CharIN the perfect match with ICMM to efficiently and thoroughly define the requirements of future charging standards as requested in the mining and marine industry.”

Christian Spano, Director of Innovation, ICMM, said: “Value chain collaboration will be critical in helping us get to net zero. Through ICMM’s Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative, we’ve identified technical bottlenecks affecting progress in implementing zero emissions vehicles at mining operations globally, that we’re now creating partnerships to drive progress on.”

He adds: “ICMM is thrilled to partner with CharIN, which has extensive experience in solving battery charging interoperability challenges across other industrial sectors and works with an exciting roster of manufacturing and technology companies. The scale of ICMM’s membership will enhance opportunities for piloting and testing solutions at certain identified sites, and aims to ultimately accelerate progress on the wider roll-out of a new generation of zero emission mining vehicles for the industry.” 

Quotes from some of the companies participating in ICMM’s Innovation for Cleaner and Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative included Anna Wiley, Vice President, Planning and Technical, BHP who said: “Developing an interoperability framework for battery electric equipment is a complex jigsaw that cannot be accomplished without a new level of technical collaboration across the mining and e-mobility industries. We are committed to working alongside our partners to make a meaningful contribution towards the mining industry’s decarbonisation goals.”  

Mark Davies, Chief Technical Officer, Rio Tinto said: “Interoperability is a critical element in overcoming the technical and commercial barriers to decarbonising our diesel haul truck fleet and achieving our climate targets. We’re delighted to partner with ICMM and our peers to collectively find better ways to solve this technical challenge and further contribute to the growth and sustainability of the Electric Vehicle industry.”

And comments from some of the companies participating in CharIN included this from Grischa Sauerberg, Vice President, Sectoral Decarbonisation and Innovation, Shell: “We get a clear message from our mining customers: interoperability is key for faster decarbonisation of their haulage fleet. By aiming to develop robust, universal technical standards at the outset, the taskforce provides miners with the reassurance that is much needed for investment in electrification. Together, we can set the technical environment for an open, healthy market, where miners are free to choose their preferred equipment and are not locked into specific technologies. As an end-to-end electrification solution provider, we are excited to work with miners, OEMs, customers and others, to learn from them, as well as share our technical expertise in standards development from other transport segments.”

Max Luedtke, VP Global Head of Business Line Mining, ABB, says: “We are convinced that creating strategic pools of relevant stakeholders involving different technology providers will help push the collaborative technology development of standardised, interoperable solutions, accelerating the decarbonisation of mining operations. Building on over 130 years’ experience in mine electrification from pit-to-port, ABB has been at the forefront of this collaborative movement with our eMine™ framework. We are excited to continue walking the electric journey with the Mining Interoperability Taskforce, bringing in ABB’s innovation in charging technologies to further work together on standardising the interface between infrastructure and electric vehicles for mining applications.”

And Emma Jones, Innovation Manager, GHD Digital, comments: “Sustained technical collaboration and innovation will power the accelerated maturation of these technologies, drawing from the continued support of participants across CharIN and ICMM, each organisation integral to the long-term success of this initiative. And GHD introduces a powerful combination of mining industry experience and innovation consultancy expertise to the Taskforce to make this complex ecosystem sustainable.” 

Beyond mining, potential future applications of this technology could extend into other sectors where high-power charging and ruggedised charging solutions are required, such as rail, aviation, construction, and marine industries.