On Thursday, the three largest mining companies announced a competition for efficient ways to deliver power to the giant fleet of battery-powered mining trucks as they strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Charge on Innovation Challenge, run by BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Vale SA in partnership with Australian mining services organization Austmine, is looking for fast charging concepts that would provide about 400 kilowatt hours of electricity to vehicle fleets in remote iron ore mines.
The mining industry is looking to convert its diesel truck fleet to electric in order to reduce emissions. But one problem is that current stationary charging systems take a long time to charge huge mining trucks, which will affect the productivity of factories, the companies said in a joint statement.
“We expect the competition will stimulate innovative ideas, some of which can be immediately applied to existing diesel-electric equipment and will help accelerate the implementation of long-term solutions,” said Edgar Basto, President of BHP Minerals Australia.
Participants will need to find a solution that will charge and propel 220-ton dump trucks in a truck cycle of loading, driving, unloading, returning and queuing.
Expressions of Interest will be open from May 18th and shortlisted candidates are expected to submit their concepts later this calendar year.
The Group also invites other miners to join the competition as sponsors, allowing them to influence the commercialization of mine loading concepts that promote standard and interoperable approaches.
“Partnerships and collaborations across a wide range of sectors can lead to significant technological change,” said Mark Davis, executive director of security, technical and projects for the Rio Tinto group of companies, in a statement. “This is an important industry approach that can create new jobs and opportunities for suppliers both globally and locally.”