- Switching dump trucks from diesel engines to electric drive trains will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in mining operations
- Dump truck will be powered uphill by a trolley connection and recover energy from regenerative braking when travelling downhill
- Prototype truck will be put on test at a copper-gold mine in Zambia
The collaboration between Hitachi Construction Machinery and ABB’s Traction division to create a fully electric dump truck for heavy duty mining operations has reached a key stage with the completion of the first prototype. This prototype, which has already undergone initial in-factory testing, was shipped on January 20, 2024, to the Kansanshi copper-gold mine in Zambia where the demonstration and final testing program will be performed later in mid-2024.
The development project started in 2021 with the goal to meet the growing demand for electric dump trucks in the mining sector and help decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Utilizing ABB’s innovative battery technology and highly energy-efficient DC/DC converters, Hitachi Construction Machinery trucks are being transformed from diesel to full electric battery operation. These dump trucks use a new onboard electric system that draws energy from a trolley supply to power the motor directly as well as charging a battery energy storage system. Furthermore, when running downhill, the regenerative braking system charges the battery, which reduces the charging load when the truck is connected to the trolley. This enables the truck to stay in continuous operation with no charging breaks, to maintain high productivity, while a sophisticated battery energy- and thermal management system maximizes battery service life.
In operation on level ground the dump truck will run on its internal battery. While traveling uphill, it will draw power from the external trolley supply. Travelling downhill the truck will use energy recovered from regenerative braking to recharge the battery. This creates a virtuous circle that reduces the energy used by the dump truck.
Fabiana Cavalcante, Head of Mobile e-Power, ABB Traction, said: “We are delighted to see our collaboration with Hitachi Construction Machinery reaching this crucial step. The project is not only helping to tackle the issues involved in dump truck electrification but is also contributing to enabling a low-carbon world through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to seeing the prototype prove its capability in the Zambian copper-gold mine.”
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