Australian fast-charging company Tritium has been named one of eight finalists in a challenge created by mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto, and Vale to help electricity their industry.
The Charge On Innovation Challenge aims to accelerate the commercialisation of electric haul truck charging solutions.
The plan, first launched in 2021 by BHP, Rio Tinto, and Vale, and 16 other mining companies, is to design chargers for electric haul trucks, demonstrating the emerging market for solutions in the mining industry.
Diesel-powered haul truck fleets are responsible for up to 80% of a mine’s emissions, according to BHP, but electrifying these massive trucks requires charging systems capable of delivering energy at huge power levels during operations.
Electrifying the mining industry
The eight shortlisted “technology innovators” are ABB, Ampcontrol and Tritium (Australia), BluVeinXL, DB Engineering & Consulting with Echion Technologies, Hitachi, Shell Consortium, Siemens Off-board power supply, and 3ME Technology.
“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,” said James Agar, BHP’s Group procurement officer.
Ampcontrol and Tritium have already designed a mining haul truck battery swap solution. It consists of a fully automated end-to-end and ultra-fast modular recharging station that is relocatable, scalable, and cell agnostic.
The drive-in/drive-out system automatically swaps the battery out in 90 seconds. This, Ampcontrol and Tritium explain, significantly reduces safety risks. It also increases productivity by excluding the need for personnel in the swap process.
“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,” said Rio Tinto Chief Technical Officer Mark Davies.
“We know we have a role to play in helping solve the global climate challenge. We’re looking at how we can make changes across our business to reduce our carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. Initiatives like the Charge On Innovation Challenge can help us reach our targets.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.