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BHP says battery electrical cheaper than hydrogen because it dumps diesel for haul vehicles

BHP says battery electrical cheaper than hydrogen because it dumps diesel for haul vehicles

2023-07-31 08:41:10

BHP has unveiled plans to switch its fleet of diesel vehicles with electrical vehicles, in a staged transition that won’t solely cut back the corporate’s scope 1 emissions but in addition present large financial savings on operational prices.

“Every year our Australian operations use roughly 1,500 mega litres of diesel in over 1,000 items of kit,” mentioned vp of planning and technical minerals Australia Anna Wiley.

“Over half of that is utilized in our truck fleets. Electrification is the popular pathway to remove this diesel. A part of the rationale for that is vitality effectivity.”

BHP says the way forward for huge vehicles is electrical, not hydrogen

Wiley went on to elucidate the massive variations in vitality effectivity between diesel, hydrogen and electrical vehicles (proven within the desk on the precise within the picture beneath).

“The primary row represents the gas motion from supply to the gear. Utilizing hydrogen for example, you’ll be able to see that the best losses at this part are resulting from technology storage and transmission in comparison with minimal losses in electrical energy technology and transmission.

“As soon as on board, the gas must be transferred into vitality. In each right this moment’s diesel electrical expertise and in a hydrogen system, the gas is used to generate electrical energy to drive the electrical wheel motors which has further losses.

“Placing this collectively within the backside row, we are able to see that round 80% of general effectivity from electrified pathway in comparison with lower than half of this for hydrogen.”

BHP Operational decarbonisation
BHP Operational decarbonisation. Supply: BHP

With “fuel-to-wheel” vitality effectivity losses of 70% for each diesel and hydrogen in comparison with simply 20% for electrical, changing mining truck fleets to electrical is a no brainer.

However the gas value financial savings are even increased than BHP’s evaluation suggests. Wiley’s comparability begins with the hydrogen gas already created. There are additionally huge losses concerned in creating hydrogen, in accordance with vitality knowledgeable Saul Griffith.

“It seems the very best case, if in case you have the proper machine you’re solely going to get just a little greater than 70% of the vitality you made together with your photo voltaic cell transformed into hydrogen” says Griffith.

This implies if BHP’s evaluation is taken from the vitality supply, i.e. photo voltaic or wind energy, the effectivity of the hydrogen system would drop farther from 30% to only 21% with trivial losses within the all-electric system.

Because of this nearly 80% of the unique renewable vitality generated for the hydrogen system can be misplaced by the point it obtained to transferring the wheels of the truck. Which suggests 4-5 occasions extra wind and photo voltaic that must be created to journey the identical distance as an electrical truck and 4-5 occasions extra value.

Electrified mining fleet “extra economical” than diesel and hydrogen

Even with out the pre-fuel comparability, BHP has made up its thoughts on the drivetrain debate

“Our view that an electrified mining fleet is extra economical and extra achievable than the choice gas sources,” mentioned Anna Wiley.

“Changing diesel requires us to develop a complete operational ecosystem to encompass the fleet and each a part of the mine will likely be touched by this alteration.

“There are nonetheless loads of unknowns in our future idea of operations, that we have to take into account. How we plan our mines, how we cost our gear, how we handle energy demand and the talents we’ll want as a part of this transition.

BHP says it should collaborate with gear producers to speed up the event of electrified mine websites. BHP will trial gear on website because it turns into obtainable.

“I visited the Tucson proving grounds and witnessed each Caterpillar and Komatsu prototypes in operation in battery mode, which was actually thrilling to see.” mentioned Wiley.

BHP says it should have its first battery electrical haul truck for trialling in 2024.

BHP operational decarbonisation
Operational decarbonisation. Supply: BHP

“As a part of this ecosystem we might want to take into account how our vehicles will cost. The precise design will rely on the mine itself however we anticipate having each static and dynamic charging in place.”

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“For dynamic charging, standard trolly charging is offered right this moment nonetheless implementation is troublesome as a result of because the areas we mine change, the infrastructure must be moved.

“We’re supporting one of many Cost On Innovation Problem individuals Bluvein, who’re creating facet mount dynamic charging programs to enhance each mobility and value effectiveness.” mentioned Wiley.

The Pushed recently wrote a story about Bluvein, an Australian firm, which has developed a dynamic charging system that may assist mine websites cost electrical gear whereas in operation.

Bluvein Dynamic Charging for mining vehicles
Bluvein Dynamic Charging for mining automobiles. Supply: Bluvein

On working prices, BHP says electrical wins

“Our preliminary modeling suggests the price [of electric] would be the identical or much less to function in comparison with diesel,” mentioned Wiley.

“As we transition from diesel to electrical energy, we’ll spend much less on carbon publicity, however we might want to spend extra on electrical energy. Nonetheless we anticipate the price will likely be much less general given the effectivity of the battery electrical vehicles and the anticipated vitality value differential.”

“We additionally anticipate to see general financial savings in truck upkeep as and not using a diesel engine or mechanical drive chain, there are considerably fewer components making the vehicles easy to take care of.”

BHP’s modelling exhibits that battery charging time will be the largest value on the electrical facet, one thing that dynamic charging can cut back considerably.

BHP truck savings
Truck working prices diesel vs electrical. Supply: BHP

With battery expertise creating quickly, it’s no surprise the mining trade desires to get in on the large prices financial savings that include going all-electric.

For more information on the issues dealing with hydrogen automobiles, take a look at our story The madness of Big Auto’s push for hydrogen-powered cars

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