General Motors has established a collaboration with Komatsu in Japan to create a hydrogen fuel cell-based power module for the truck Komatsu miner 930E which is electrically powered and is recognized as the most successful ultra-class haul truck worldwide.
Hydrogen fuel cells and the Komatsu 930E mining truck
Hydrogen fuel cells, being light and quick to recharge, are emerging as an excellent option to replace diesel engines, especially for vehicles that require heavy load transportation. Hydrogen is presented as an efficient method to store large amounts of energy on board the vehicle without affecting its payload capacity.
Furthermore, these fuel cells offer an effective zero-emission solution for vehicles, allowing them to carry out their transportation tasks efficiently. The Komatsu 930E truck represents just one of the many diesel-electric vocational vehicles available on the market today. The company’s fleet currently includes two of these trucks, each equipped with a diesel engine and electric transmission capable of generating up to 2,611 kW at 1,800 rpm, with a payload capacity of 290 metric tons.
In another configuration, the truck has the capacity to generate 2,013 kW and transport a load of 290 metric tons. Because these trucks typically operate at a single mine over their lifetime, the challenges associated with planning and implementing effective hydrogen refueling infrastructure for the fleet are simplified.
” At GM, we believe fuel cells can play an integral role in a zero-emissions future, helping to electrify heavier-duty applications beyond passenger vehicles ,” said Charlie Freese, CEO of GM’s Global HYDROTEC business. .
Komatsu’s fuel cell-powered mining trucks will offer an option to battery-powered vehicles and static battery charging solutions, without requiring additional charging infrastructure within mines. Komatsu has set ambitious goals to reduce its global emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Similarly, GM has also committed to achieving full carbon neutrality in products and operations by 2040.
” Finding new ways to power the equipment our customers need to do vital mining and construction work is a critical part of our commitment to supporting a more sustainable future ,” said Dan Funcannon, vice president of engineering and development for Komatsu in North America.
Both companies intend to test a prototype of the 930E mining truck , powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, in the middle of this decade at Komatsu’s research and development facility at the Arizona Proving Grounds (AZPG). This vehicle will use more than 2 MW of HYDROTEC energy blocks.
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