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electric mining equipment goes green and increases safety

electric mining equipment goes green and increases safety

Traditionally dependent on fossil fuels to run key equipment, mining is known as a carbon-intensive industry. New trends, such as battery-powered underground mining equipment, are promising to disrupt that paradigm.

Increasingly, stakeholders are demanding that mining companies be more responsible and sustainable. Companies are being pressured by stockholders, workers, local communities, consumersand governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce carbon footprints, improve air qualityand protect the health and safety of workers and people living near mines. Meanwhile, others in the mining value chain such as jewelers, electronics companies, or automakers want assurances that the minerals theyre buying are mined responsibly.

With this as a backdrop, battery-powered underground mining equipment is starting to replace vehicles with diesel enginesand equipment with electric motors is starting to replace those using hydraulics.

Though the transition to electric mining equipment has been relatively slow, it is difficult to think of the mining industry of the future still depending on fossil fuels. The shift to cleaner sources of energy is global: industries and governments across the world are implementing renewable energy source strategies and policies, regulations are becoming stricter and social scrutiny harder. Electromobility has arrived to stay and the mining industry is not excluded from its influence.

One, for instance, is the competitiveness of the industryand the increasing need for miners and equipment to go ever deeper into the earth to extract more minerals. It follows that the deeper a mine, the more ventilation infrastructure is needed to help vent diesel emissions and keep workers safe. According to one estimate, up to 30% of an underground mines total operating costs go toward powering ventilation systems to maintain air quality.

At some point, it becomes much less cost-effective for such operations to continue using diesel ICE even equipment that is designed to comply with current Environmental Protection Agency emission standards in these applications.

Surface mining operations arent totally immune from these pressures either. Diesel-powered machines used in these operations must adhere to the same environmental regulation as construction and agricultural equipment.

Many mining OEMs are taking advantage of the opportunities created by this trend. Atlas Copco and Epiroc, for instance, offers a range of BEV, zero-emission mining machines, including the Scooptram ST7, the Electric Boomer M2Cand smaller truck models.

Sandvik Artisan, meanwhile, offers its Z50 mining truck, powered by lithium-ion batteries. It boasts three times more power than a diesel, and the capability to haul 50 tons of material. It also features regenerative braking and an automated battery swap system that can refuel the vehicle in about 10 minutes.

There are many challenges to the widespread shift to electrification in mining. According to a 2019 report by EY on the subject, electrification requires mining personnel to adopt some different skills, such as data and digital literacyand technical planning. In some cases, mine design needs to be rethought for better optimization of electric mining equipment.

On the engineering side, battery technology and recharging are ongoing challenges. The current industry standard is the use of large, diesel-powered generators to do the job. But as these generators are highly polluting, their use tends to defeat at least some of the purpose of the shift to electric mining vehicles. Several solutions are emerging to reduce or eliminate this reliance on diesel, including renewable energy projects at mines, hydrogen power generators for rechargingand diesel generators that run more efficiently.

Mining is traditionally a very carbon-dependent industry, with heavy reliance on diesel ICE to power its equipment. That reliance may be starting to change, however, driven by pressure from stakeholders to reduce carbon footprints and protect workers and communities, along with new economic pressures derived from the need to mine farther underground. Already, major OEMs are providing electric mining equipment. As new options for charging these large batteries including renewable resources become more widespread, expect to see a cleaner, greener, safer future of mining.

hydra consortium wants heavy-duty mining equipment to run on renewable hydrogen

hydra consortium wants heavy-duty mining equipment to run on renewable hydrogen

Mining3, a research organization focused on the mining industry, and Engie, a global player in low-carbon energy, announced the starting of operations of the Hydra Consortium, a joint effort aimed at promoting the use of hydrogen fuel cell-based powertrain for heavy-duty mobility within the mining sector.

In a press release, the companies said the Consortium is currently working on building the business case that will support such a goal and which includes a competitiveness analysis and a pre-feasibility and engineering study of a powertrain and the renewable hydrogen value chain. This PFS involves the designing, manufacturing and testing of a 200kW fuel cell plus battery powertrain prototype under mining conditions.

We are pleased to be part of this powerful collaboration that brings the vast expertise of its members to decarbonise the mining industry, Michle Azalbert, CEO of Engies Hydrogen Business Unit, said in the media brief. Renewable hydrogen can provide the flexibility that the mining sector needs. Beyond the obvious advantage of being emissions-free, hydrogen solutions offer an economically viable alternative to fossil fuels, while ensuring the operational performance of mining operations.

According to Azalbert, the Hydra Consortium has already received some indirect major support. One of its supporters is the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO), which awarded EUR 280,000 in government funding to Mining3 in partnership with CSIRO Chile.

Mitsui & Co. and Thiess, both active in the mining sector, have provided additional support as part of their commitment to developing sustainable solutions for decarbonizing the resources industry, while Ballard Power Systems will provide its fuel cell systems, Hexagon Purus will supply hydrogen storage systems and Reborn Electric Motors will complete the systems integration.

how does bitcoin mining use fossil fuels? tesla stops bitcoin purchases over climate concerns

how does bitcoin mining use fossil fuels? tesla stops bitcoin purchases over climate concerns

Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin. We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel, he said.

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