ABB partners with First Mode to power fleet of zero-emission mining haulage trucks

  • First Mode orders ABB BORDLINE® lithium-ion energy storage systems for a fleet of zero-emission haulage trucks
  • Project to electrify transportation and eliminate use of diesel puts ABB technology at the heart of sustainability in the mining sector

Earlier this year, ABB was awarded an order by global carbon reduction company, First Mode to supply energy storage systems (ESS) for a fleet of zero-emission mining haulage trucks. The project will demonstrate ABB’s capability to help companies electrify transportation to eliminate the use of diesel fuel in even the most challenging of operations.

First Mode’s order for 80 ABB BORDLINE® ESS based on lithium-ion battery technology extends the companies’ collaborative efforts in the electrification of heavy transport. In 2022, First Mode utilized ABB’s megawatt-scale DC-to-DC converter and on-site engineering expertise to launch the world’s first ultra-class haulage truck powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. According to First Mode, replacing just one diesel truck with an electric model would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,700 metric tons a year — about the same as taking 700 passenger cars off the road.

The prototype truck debuted at a platinum mine in South Africa. Stress-tested in one of the most demanding of operations, it excelled, proving that a combination of batteries and fuel cells to power heavy-duty vehicles is a viable alternative to diesel.

“The mining environment presents a unique combination of high-power charge and discharge, continuous operation, and significant thermal management challenges that are not found in many other applications,” said Krunal Desai, Director of Electrical Engineering at First Mode. “ABB’s ESS technology is an ideal fit for this application, with excellent power performance and inherent safety. Energy storage will both increase the peak power output available to the truck when ascending a grade and recover energy through regenerative braking when descending.”

First Mode’s order will enable production to scale from a successful proof-of-concept to a full fleet of zero-emission haulage trucks, all powered by ABB technology. The 80 BORDLINE® ESS batteries, with a total 2.6 megawatt-hours (MWh), will be assembled into larger battery packs and used in the construction of hybrid hydrogen and battery powerplants to power the new ultra-class haulage trucks.

“Our solutions – which include not just batteries, but also drives and motors for heavy industry mobility – bring a major advantage in that they’re highly customizable and easy to integrate. Together with First Mode, we are able to demonstrate the technology in the extremely demanding application of zero-emission mining haul trucks,” said Edgar Keller, President of ABB’s Traction Division.

ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s ~105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation. www.abb.com

First Mode is a global carbon reduction company developing creative, clean energy solutions for heavy industry’s toughest problems. It started by removing the diesel engine from a colossal mining truck and replacing it with a hybrid hydrogen and battery powerplant; a world-first and the world’s largest. It is also working on providing critical mine site infrastructure for hydrogen production, battery recharging, and hydrogen refueling. Today, we’re starting at the source, the mining industry, and tomorrow the larger supply chain, to completely eliminate the use of diesel and speed the clean energy transition. www.firstmode.com

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