Electrifying Mining: Hitachi's Green Truck Innovation

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ABBImage Source: ABB

Synopsis:

Hitachi Construction Machinery, in collaboration with ABB's Traction division, achieves a milestone by completing the prototype of a fully electric dump truck for heavy-duty mining. Using ABB's cutting-edge battery technology, the truck operates on a novel system, drawing power from a trolley connection uphill and recovering energy through regenerative braking downhill. This innovation aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in mining operations and is set for testing at the Kansanshi copper-gold mine in Zambia.

Article:

In a groundbreaking venture, Hitachi Construction Machinery, in partnership with ABB's Traction division, has successfully developed the prototype of a fully electric dump truck for the demanding world of mining. This achievement marks a significant stride towards meeting the rising demand for electric vehicles in the mining sector while addressing environmental concerns related to greenhouse gas emissions.

The development project, initiated in 2021, focuses on transforming Hitachi Construction Machinery's dump trucks from diesel to fully electric battery operation. The key player in this transformation is ABB's innovative battery technology, coupled with highly energy-efficient DC/DC converters. These components form the backbone of a new onboard electric system that not only powers the truck's motor directly but also charges a battery energy storage system.

A unique feature of this electric dump truck is its utilization of a trolley connection to draw energy when ascending uphill. This ensures continuous operation without charging breaks, maintaining high productivity levels. Additionally, the regenerative braking system comes into play when descending, efficiently charging the battery and reducing the load during trolley connection.

The prototype, having undergone initial in-factory testing, embarked on its journey to the Kansanshi copper-gold mine in Zambia on January 20, 2024. The upcoming demonstration and final testing program, scheduled for mid-2024, will validate the truck's capabilities in real mining conditions.

Fabiana Cavalcante, Head of Mobile e-Power at ABB Traction, expressed excitement about the collaboration, highlighting its contribution to addressing dump truck electrification challenges and promoting a low-carbon world through reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

In operational terms, the dump truck seamlessly transitions between its internal battery on level ground, drawing power from the external trolley supply uphill, and utilizing regenerative braking energy while descending. This smart energy management creates an eco-friendly cycle, minimizing the overall energy consumption of the dump truck.

As the prototype sets its wheels on the Zambian mine, it symbolizes a step towards sustainable mining practices and exemplifies how technology can play a pivotal role in reducing the environmental impact of heavy-duty operations.

Conclusion:

The completion of the fully electric dump truck prototype by Hitachi Construction Machinery, powered by ABB's cutting-edge technology, signals a promising shift towards sustainable mining practices. This innovation not only tackles the challenges of dump truck electrification but also contributes to a low-carbon future by curbing greenhouse gas emissions. As the prototype undergoes real-world testing in Zambia, it paves the way for a greener and more efficient approach to heavy-duty mining operations.

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