Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) has teamed up with global mining company Anglo American to develop the world’s largest hydrogen powered mine truck.
This is probably one of the most unusual and challenging ventures for the technology and engineering services business of the Williams Group. WAE will develop the world’s first high-voltage battery system for Anglo American’s giant Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle.
To get an idea of the scale of the project, you should know that Williams needs to build a scalable high-power modular lithium-ion battery system with an energy storage capacity of more than 1,000 kWh.
The FCEV haul truck will be powered by a hydrogen Fuel Cell Module paired with WAE’s giant battery. Interestingly, Anglo American wants to retrofit the fuel cell technology to existing diesel-powered trucks. According to Williams, its battery system will 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.
Testing is set to begin later this year at Anglo American’s flagship platinum group metals mine in Mogalakwena, South Africa. The new powertrain will use regenerative braking, enabling the battery system to recover energy as the haul truck travels downhill. For this project, WAE will use its experience as the sole battery supplier to the FIA Formula E global motorsport series.
“We are delighted to be involved in this innovative and exciting project which showcases the scalability of battery technology from automotive and motorsport to “heavy duty” industrial applications,” said Craig Wilson, managing director of Williams Advanced Engineering. “We look forward to working with Williams Advanced Engineering to deliver this important step-change technology, a true world first for a vehicle of this size and load capacity,” added Julian Soles, Head of Technology Development for Anglo American.
The Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle haul truck project is part of the mining giant’s plan to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Anglo American hopes to meet the ambitious decarbonization targets laid out in its Sustainable Mining Plan by putting electrified vehicles into mines – from large haul trucks to passenger vehicles and employee buses. Anglo American wants to re-use the power units to provide energy storage in second life applications.