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Mining3 and ENGIE combine to drive decarbonisation in mining

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Global Mining Review,

Mining3, a leading research organisation in the global mining industry, and ENGIE, a global player in low-carbon energy and services, have announced the commencement of the Hydra Consortium.

The Hydra Consortium is now actively working on validating the business case of utilising a hydrogen fuel cell-based powertrain for heavy-duty mobility within the mining sector. This will enable heavy-duty mining mobile equipment to run on renewable hydrogen, displacing diesel, and as such decarbonise the mining sector.

To achieve this target, several workstreams will be executed, amongst others a pre-feasibility and engineering study of a powertrain and the renewable hydrogen value chain. This includes designing, manufacturing and testing of a 200 kW fuel cell plus battery powertrain prototype under mining conditions (altitude, dust, temperature, etc.). The test outcomes will provide valuable information to optimise the overarching design that could replace the traditional diesel powertrain.

In addition, the project will support government entities, in Chile and beyond, by establishing safety protocols for hydrogen use at scale within the mining industry, which will be critical for the successful deployment of this hydrogen solution.

Finally, the project will complete the competitiveness analysis for validation of the business case, determining whether Consortium members could consider a scale-up of the solution.

In August 2020, the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO), was the first to support the project, by awarding it with CLP 252 million (equivalent of €280,000) in government funding to Mining3 in partnership with CSIRO Chile. Since then, Mitsui & Co. (USA) Inc. and Thiess, both active in the mining sector, have provided additional support as part of their commitment to develop sustainable solutions for decarbonising the resources industry. Also, several technology companies are contributing, each within their areas of expertise: Ballard Power Systems will provide its fuel cell systems, Hexagon Purus will supply hydrogen storage systems and Reborn Electric Motors will complete the systems integration.

“We are looking forward to working with project participants to develop this important transformative solution for the mining industry, as well as open doors to new applications and processes necessary for a carbon neutral future”, stated Mining3 CEO, Professor Paul Lever.

“We are pleased to be part of this powerful collaboration that brings the vast expertise of its members to decarbonise the mining industry. Renewable hydrogen can provide the flexibility that the mining sector needs. Beyond the obvious advantage of being emissions-free, hydrogen solutions offer an economically viable alternative to fossil fuels, while ensuring the operational performance of mining operations”, added Michele AZALBERT, CEO of ENGIE’s Hydrogen Business Unit.

The consortium extends an open invitation to other mining companies, technology providers and governments to join and grow the development activities within this field.

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