21 April 2021

New consortium aims to drive decarbonisation in mining

Group hope to utilise renewable hydrogen

© Jonny Caspari /Unsplash

Australian mining research organisation, Mining3, and French energy firm, ENGIE, have formed the Hydra Consortium.

The consortium aims to validate the business case of utilising a hydrogen fuel cell-based powertrain for heavy-duty mobility within the mining sector.

The group hopes this will enable heavy-duty mining mobile equipment to run on renewable hydrogen, displacing diesel, and as such decarbonise the mining sector.

To achieve this target, several workstreams will be executed, amongst others a pre-feasibility and engineering study of a powertrain and the renewable hydrogen value chain.

This includes designing, manufacturing and testing of a 200kw fuel cell plus battery powertrain prototype under mining conditions (altitude, dust, temperature, etc.). The test outcomes will provide valuable information to optimise the overarching design that could replace the traditional diesel powertrain.

In addition, the project will support government entities, in Chile and beyond, by establishing safety protocols for hydrogen use at scale within the mining industry, a critical component for the successful deployment of the solution, the group says.

The project will complete the competitiveness analysis for validation of the business case, determining whether consortium members could consider a scale-up of the solution.

‘We are looking forward to working with project participants to develop this important transformative solution for the mining industry, as well as open doors to new applications and processes necessary for a carbon-neutral future,’ says Mining3 CEO, Professor Paul Lever.