General Motors (GM) and Komatsu will co-develop a hydrogen fuel cell power module for Komatsu’s 930E electric drive haul truck. The two companies will jointly validate the use of GM’s hydrogen fuel cell technology for large-scale haulage applications.
Lightweight and quick to refuel, hydrogen fuel cells provide an effective method to package large quantities of energy onboard the haul truck without compromising payload. Moreover, the use of hydrogen as a fuel generates zero tailpipe emissions. Haul trucks, like the Komatsu 930E, which has a nominal payload of 320 tons, usually operate at a single mine throughout their life, which simplifies the challenges of sizing and deploying an effective hydrogen refueling infrastructure to service the fleet.
“At GM, we believe fuel cells can play an integral role in a zero-emissions future, helping to electrify heavier-duty applications, beyond passenger vehicles,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Global Hydrotec business. “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.” GM has been conducting fuel cell research and product development for more than 50 years.
The fuel cell technology will provide miners with an additional pathway for decarbonization beyond battery-trolley or battery-static charging solutions, without the need for additional charging infrastructure within the mines.
“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,” said Dan Funcannon, vice president of North America engineering and development for Komatsu. “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.”
GM and Komatsu said the will soon test the first prototype Hydrotec-powered mining vehicle at Komatsu’s
Arizona Proving Grounds research and development facility. This vehicle will be powered by more than 2 megawatts of Hydrotec power cubes.