Ballard Power Systems has joined the Hydra Consortium to supply hydrogen-powered fuel cell systems for mining equipment, H2 Bulletin reports.
The hydra consortium members include Mining3 (a research company in the global mining industry) and Engie (a low-carbon energy company). The partners aim to use fuel cell technology in heavy-duty mining mobile equipment to replace diesel and reduce emission in the mining sector.
Mining3 is headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, and its membership is open to mining companies, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), mining equipment and technology services (METS), and universities.
The plan includes designing, producing, and testing a 200 kW fuel cell plus battery powertrain prototype operating under the mining conditions. The fuel cell will use renewable hydrogen to run the mining vehicle. It will also use a battery for regenerative braking and supporting peak power. The decision on the scale-up of the solution will be made following the outcome of the tests.
The project was initially supported by the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO) in August 2020, with the funding of CLP 252 million (US$ 0.36 million) in partnership with CSIRO Chile. Mitsui & Co. Inc. and Thiess also then supported the project. Besides Ballard, Hexagon Purus will supply hydrogen storage systems, and Reborn Electric Motors will complete the systems integration.
Michele Azalbert, CEO of Engie Hydrogen Business Unit, said, “Renewable hydrogen can provide the flexibility that the mining sector needs.”
Randy MacEwen, President and CEO of Ballard Power Systems, added, “To limit global warming to 2-degrees, the mining industry must reduce direct emissions by 40%-to-70% by 2050.”
Mr MacEwen further added that Ballard believes hydrogen-powered fuel cell engines offer the only viable pathway to decarbonise heavy off-highway vehicles in mining, construction and agriculture, with an addressable market of 4.5 million vehicles representing an aggregate of 500 GW of power. The mining equipment can be powered through fuel cell engines powered by hydrogen produced at the mining sites using solar energy.
Thiess announced its joining of the Hydra Consortium on 16th April 2021 to drive decarbonisation in mining.