Mining giants Rio Tinto, BHP and Vale have recently announced the winning technology innovators for the Charge On Innovation Challenge.
The challenge launched in 2021, invited technology innovators and vendors from varying industries across the globe to collaborate with the mining industry to create unprecedented electric truck charging solutions. What had initially been a whopping 350 expressions of interest was narrowed down to an impressive 8 winners after shortlisting and pitches.
Around 80 per cent of a mine’s emissions are produced by diesel-powered haul truck fleets, so by electrifying them, mining operations can be significantly decarbonised; solving one of the greatest challenges in mining today.
The challenge specifically endeavours to accelerate the commercialisation of successful solutions for charging large electric haul trucks, while concurrently exposing the emerging market in mining for these solutions.
James Agar, BHP’s Group Procurement Officer, said, “The truly global nature of the final eight technology innovators selected from across industries, demonstrates the level of interest that exists to work closely with the mining industry in seeking solutions to decarbonise mining fleets. The Charge On Innovation Challenge is a great example of the current collaborative work being done to reimagine traditional models and relationships, which will enable innovative solutions to be designed, tested and implemented, fast-tracking the adoption of new technology.”
ABB and BluVeinXL are among the 8 champs and have both presented some groundbreaking ideas. ABB has welcomed a combined industry approach, where they merged their expertise with partners’ specialist knowledge to accomplish fully integrated systems. The company said they are, “enabling the entire mining value chain to evolve through electrification, automation and digitalisation”.
ABB has fashioned a dual charging system solution for in-motion and stationary charging under their ABB Ability eMine purposeful framework of methods and solutions. This solution will maximise the efficiency of the electric mine hauling operation by exploiting standardised infrastructure, components and onboard systems.
Veering away from the usual chatter regarding their underground mining infrastructure, BluVein has designed BluVeinXL, a dynamic charging technology solution for heavy-duty mining fleets used in open-pit mining. The solution will enable fleets with up to 250t payloads to be fully and safely electrified by developing a way of using grid power to simultaneously charge the onboard vehicle battery and power the electric drive motors. The company outlined the key benefits of BlueVeinXL to be, “smaller on-board battery packs, faster vehicle haulage speeds up ramp, grid load balancing and maximum fleet availability”.
Rio Tinto Chief Technical Officer Mark Davies said, “With this group of innovators, we’re taking another step in the right direction towards changing the way haul truck systems operate in the mining sector. Through collaborations like this, where we all come together to create change, we can drive long-term benefits for our industry and the environment.”
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