Ballard Power Systems has today (20th April) joined the Hydra Consortium to help power heavy-duty mining equipment with renewable hydrogen instead of diesel.
In becoming a member of the consortium, Ballard will provide zero-emission fuel cell systems, that run on hydrogen, to support research and development projects.
Also members of the Hydra Consortium, Mining3 and Engie are aiming to decarbonise the mining sector and have identified the utilisation of hydrogen for heavy-duty mobility as a key factor to achieve this target.
Should this target be achieved, it could enable heavy-duty mining mobile equipment to run on renewable hydrogen, displacing diesel, allowing for zero-emission mining operations around the world.
The consortium will work on a pre-feasibility and engineering study of a powertrain and the renewable hydrogen value chain.
Included within this is the design, manufacturing and testing of a 200kW fuel cell as well as a battery powertrain prototype which will be tested under mining conditions. The data from this could prove to be valuable in hopes that it will optimise the design to displace diesel powertrains.
As well as research into a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain, the project will additionally support government entities, such as Chile, by establishing safety protocols for the wider use of hydrogen within the mining industry.
It is believed that this could be critical to the wider integration of new hydrogen solutions.
Finally, the project will complete the competitiveness analysis for the validation of the business case, which will determine whether the consortium members could consider a scale-up of the hydrogen solution.
Randy MacEwan, CEO of Ballard Power Systems, said, “We believe 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 gigawatts of power, and where heavy payload capability and fast refuelling are ‘must-have’ requirements.
“Our vision for the mining industry includes large, centralised fleets of ultra-heavy mining vehicles with fuel cell engines powered by hydrogen produced by onsite solar energy at mining sites.”
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