GM to fit monster e-drive mining truck with hydrogen power cubes
In a move that mirrors an Anglo American and Williams Advanced Engineering project from 2020, General Motors has partnered with Japan's Komatsu to develop a fuel-cell power module for the latter's 930E electric-drive mining truck.
Komatsu currently has two 930E mining trucks in its fleet, each with a diesel engine running an electric drivetrain for up to 2,611 kW (3,500 hp) at 1,800 rpm and a 290-metric-ton (320 US ton) capacity or 2,013 kW (2700 hp) and 290 metric tons (320 US tons).
Though manufacturers like Caterpillar have looked into all-electric mining trucks, hydrogen fuel cells could prove to be better suited to replacing diesel in the power equation than battery banks. "Mining trucks are among the largest, most capable vehicles used in any industry, and we believe hydrogen fuel cells are best suited to deliver zero emissions propulsion to these demanding applications," said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Global Hydrotec business.
From the few details given, it looks like the partnership has chosen the 2,013-kW Komatsu 930E-5 model for the development prototype, which will host enough of GM's Hydrotec power cubes – each packing 300 fuel cells for 77 kW of power – to deliver more than 2 megawatts of power.
"Finding new ways to power the equipment our customers need to do the vital work of mining and construction is a critical part of our commitment to supporting a more sustainable future," added Komatsu's Dan Funcannon. "This is essential work that requires cross-industry collaboration, and we are excited to be working with GM on this important solution for a haulage offering without tailpipe emissions."
The first Hydrotec-powered prototype is estimated to begin testing at Komatsu's Arizona Proving Grounds from the mid-2020s.