Anglo American plc unveiled a prototype of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck designed to operate in everyday mining conditions at its Mogalakwena PGMs (platinum group metals) mine in South Africa. The 2MW hydrogen-battery hybrid truck, generating more power than its diesel predecessor and capable of carrying a 290-tonne payload, is part of Anglo American’s nuGen Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS).
nuGen provides a fully integrated green hydrogen system, consisting of production, fueling and haulage system, with green hydrogen to be produced at the mine site. nuGen is part of FutureSmart Mining, Anglo American’s innovation-led approach to sustainable mining.
The nuGen truck is retrofitted from a diesel-powered vehicle. The truck uses a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell providing roughly half of the power and a battery pack the other half, to allow energy recovery from braking. For the nuGen project, Anglo American worked with companies such as ENGIE, First Mode, Ballard and NPROXX to:
Design, build, and test a 1.2 MWh battery pack, as the haul truck system uses multiple fuel cells that deliver up to 800kW of power, combining to deliver a total of 2MW of power.
Design and implement a software solution to safely manage power and energy between the fuel cells, batteries, and vehicle drivetrain.
Develop the power management and battery systems from the ground up, providing the ability to tailor the system to each mine and improve overall efficiency by designing in energy recovery as the haul trucks travel downhill through regenerative braking.
Build a hydrogen production, storage, and refueling complex at Mogalakwena that incorporates the largest electrolyzer in Africa and a solar plant to support the operation of the haul truck.
nuGen is a tangible demonstration of our FutureSmart Mining program changing the future of our industry. With diesel emissions from our haul truck fleet accounting for around 10-15% of our total Scope 1 emissions, this is an important step on our pathway to carbon neutral operations by 2040. The mining industry is playing a considerable role in helping the world decarbonize, both through our own emissions footprint and the metals and minerals that we produce that are critical to low carbon energy and transport systems.
Over the next several years, we envisage converting or replacing our current fleet of diesel-powered trucks with this zero-emission haulage system, fueled with green hydrogen. If this pilot is successful, we could remove up to 80% of diesel emissions at our open pit mines by rolling this technology across our global fleet.—Duncan Wanblad, Chief Executive of Anglo American
Anglo American has been a longstanding champion of the potential offered by the hydrogen economy, recognizing its role in enabling the shift to greener energy and cleaner transport. The hydrogen economy provides an opportunity to create new engines of economic activity. With a combination of abundant renewable energy sources (i.e. solar and wind), and as the world’s largest producer of PGMs, hydrogen is a strategic priority for South Africa and presents a significant opportunity for economic development, including the creation of new jobs and the development of the PGMs sector, while also contributing to South Africa’s decarbonization objectives.
South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley. In South Africa, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the South African National Development Institute (SANEDI), in partnership with Anglo American, Bambili Energy, and ENGIE, are looking into opportunities to create a Hydrogen Valley. The proposed hydrogen valley will stretch approximately 835 kilometers from the platinum group metals-rich Bushveld geological area in Limpopo province, along the industrial and commercial corridor to Johannesburg and to the south coast at Durban. The nuGen Zero Emission Haulage Solution is one of the first projects for South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley.
A feasibility study for South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley published in October 2021 identifies three hubs—Johannesburg, extending to Rustenburg and Pretoria; Durban, encompassing the city itself and Richards Bay; and Limpopo province centred around Anglo American’s Mogalakwena PGMs mine—with a fundamental role to play in integrating hydrogen into South Africa’s economy, and in establishing South Africa and its abundant renewable energy resources as a strategically important center for green hydrogen production.
Nine key pilot projects have also been identified across these hubs and are recommended to be prioritized by developers. They span the transport, industrial, and construction sectors.