Williams Advanced Engineering developing battery system for Anglo American’s hydrogen-powered mine haul truck
Global mining company, Anglo American, has engaged Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) to develop its new Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV): a 290-tonne electrically powered mining haul truck, which is set to be the world’s largest electrified vehicle. (Earlier post.)
As part of its FutureSmart Mining program, which applies innovative thinking and technological advances to address mining’s major sustainability challenges, Anglo American has committed to reducing its global greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
Putting electrified vehicles into mines—from large haul trucks to passenger vehicles and employee buses—will help Anglo American reach these ambitious decarbonization targets, as set out in its Sustainable Mining Plan.
The FCEV haul truck will be powered by a hydrogen Fuel Cell Module (provided by Ballard, earlier post) paired with a WAE scalable high-power modular lithium-ion battery system.
This arrangement, which replaces the existing vehicle’s diesel engine, is controlled by a high voltage power distribution unit delivering in excess of 1,000 kWh of energy storage.
Offering significant peak power capability, it will also deliver the robustness seen in industrial diesel engines for harsh environments. The power units will be designed and built at WAE, in Grove, Oxfordshire, and integrated into an existing mining haul truck, with testing taking place later this year at the Mogalakwena platinum group metals mining operation in South Africa, Anglo American’s flagship PGMs mine.
Through regenerative braking, the battery system will be capable of recovering energy as the haul truck travels downhill. For the project, WAE has drawn on its extensive experience in battery design and supply for challenging environments including the FIA Formula E global motorsport series for the first four seasons.
In line with Anglo American’s commitment to sustainable mining, studies will take place after the initial trials to understand how these power units can be used to provide energy storage in second life applications.
We are delighted to be involved in this innovative and exciting project with Anglo American which showcases the performance and scalability of our battery technology from motorsport through automotive to “heavy duty” industrial applications. Operating within challenging environments is something we are familiar with and I am proud of our battery team’s achievements in a growing list of innovative and successful programs. As sole battery supplier for the Extreme E programme and we remain committed to supporting long-term sustainability projects.—Craig Wilson, MD of Williams Advanced Engineering