ABB Ability™ eMine FastCharge is a game-changer

ABB’s new pilot ABB Ability™ eMine FastCharge technology – is set to be the world’s fastest and only fully automated charging system for mining trucks offering up to 600kW of power when it comes to market soon.

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High power

  • Industry is responsible for 4–7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the majority from diesel trucks in open pit mines

Ultra-fast charging time

  • eMine™ FastCharge solution currently
    in pilot phase and will fast-track the transition to all-electric mines by addressing not just one but all these elements.

Fully automated

  • Integrated all-electric mine incorporates optimal design and operations for more efficient, sustainable energy and resource consumption.

ABB Ability™ eMine FastCharge: the power to succeed

New pilot eMine™ FastCharge is today the world’s fastest and only fully automated charging system for mining haul trucks offering up to 600kW of power – resulting in multiple productivity and cost benefits.

Ramping up the speed and efficiency of the power supply keeps vehicle downtime during charging to a minimum, thus maximizing the process productivity.

The ability to pump a greater amount of energy into the vehicle battery in a shorter timeframe also gives operators the opportunity to charge their fleet of haul trucks during existing working cycles, in addition to leveraging the natural, process-imposed downtime of the BEV, and charging off-cycle.  

eMine™ FastCharge, currently in pilot phase, allows both underground and open pit mines to seamlessly integrate charging into their work order schedule, maximizing productivity and energy use, and reducing downtime.

The ruggedized system is designed to withstand the harsh conditions that typify mining projects. The pin that connects the charger to the vehicle is hidden from the weather and automatically appears only when the haul truck arrives at the charging station, protecting it from dust and water ingress. Further embedded protection measures are taken into account with an elaborate bellow system shielding against ingress even though the pin is extended.

Automated for speed and safety

Now for the question that everyone wants to ask: namely, how much quicker will eMine™ FastCharge charge an average BEV compared with existing solutions? The answer is that the charging time is dependent on multiple factors, including, for example, the electric battery’s state of charge (i.e. its level of charge relative to its capacity), and how much energy is actually needing to be transferred.

The truck battery must be able to accept the power level, meaning the C-rate has to be sufficient. For example, a 150kWh battery needs to a minimum C-rate of four to able to charge at 600kW.

That said, it is possible to estimate that charging a 300kWh vehicle battery using 600KW – bearing in mind that you never charge from zero to full capacity – would take just 30 minutes. However, a haul truck in underground applications is typically charged with around 150kWh; based on this, it would take just 15 minutes to power up that vehicle ready to return to work, a game-changing figure compared with existing solutions.

eMine™ FastCharge consists of two modules: a powerhouse containing electrical components that connects to the external power grid, and a connection terminal module housing the automated connection device that attaches to the vehicle. The latter can be relocated up to 130m from the powerhouse to provide the optimal point of charge, and mates with the truck automatically without the driver having to step outside, thus removing them from potentially hazardous environments.

Nic Beutler, global product manager, power system and charging solutions
“The new flagship technology constitutes a significant step on the journey towards all-electric mines.”

Interoperability and flexibility

Vehicle agnostic and able to support all the different kinds of interfaces, purposes and applications, eMine™ FastCharge means electric-powered equipment within a mine can perform when it needs to.

By following open automativeindustrial standards, ABB is deliberately targeting a BEV OEM agnostic approach that offers maximum flexibility for the mining operators when it comes to vehicle charging.

eMine™ FastCharge is built-up on automotive industry standards following the standards ISO15118 and IEC61851 leveraging ABB’s long-lasting experience in charging vehicles in the automobile, bus and truck sector. ABB’s system integrates a pin connection device that is mated to a socket mounted on the vehicle, which follows the recommended practice for automated connection devices (SAE J3105). Meaning eMine™ FastCharge will be able to charge all BEVs that comply with the aforementioned industry standard and have the appropriate socket / mechanical interface.

Finally, the system’s modular and flexible design means it can fit seamlessly into existing operations, regardless of their size, and the charging infrastructure can easily be moved as the mine evolves. It does not require heavy installation, thus lowering infrastructure costs and optimizing CAPEX/OPEX.

What it negates (makes obsolete) for the BEV OEM to purchase the system?

This negates the need for BEV manufacturers to purchase the system in order to charge their haul trucks, minimizing infrastructure costs and maximising the return on investment for mine operators.

The journey to the all-electric mine

The benefits of fast charging don’t stop there, however. eMine™ FastCharge is digitally connected to the wider ABB Ability™ process control and operation management ecosystem, giving operators the option to monitor and supervise all the charging stations that are distributed across a mining site.

In this way, mines can schedule charging events based on different parameters, such as energy or power supply capabilities, vehicle availability, and peaks and troughs in energy supply from the grid.

At present, around 70% of mines are electrified. Electrifying the final 30% by incorporating battery electric vehicles is still in its infancy, but the advantages of switching from diesel to electric power are already well-documented. ABB Ability™ eMine Trolley system, for example, can reduce diesel consumption by as much as 90%, leading to both reduced energy costs and environmental impact, while electrified trucks are able to run at a higher speed and provide better speed-on-grade.

We have spent the past almost two-years with the development of eMine™ FastCharge, which will be a flagship part of the new eMine™ portfolio of electrification technologies that are integrated with digital applications and services to monitor and optimize energy usage. Innovations such as these represent an exciting milestone on the journey to making the all-electric mines of the future a reality from pit to port.

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