This mining tractor developed by Caterpillar is completely battery-operated
Heavy equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar, known for its diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives has now forayed into battery-operated mining trucks and recently displayed its prototype, 793, a company press release said.
Even as the focus on decarbonization efforts has largely remained focused on the transportation and construction sectors, the mining sector is still a significant contributor that requires action. According to recent estimates, the sector accounts for up to eight percent of global emissions.
As the world's leading provider of mining equipment, Caterpillar is looking for ways to reduce emissions from the sector and set up the Early learner Program in 2021 to accelerate the development and validation of battery-operated electric trucks.
What can the 793 large mining truck do?
The demonstration for the company's prototype battery-operated truck, 793, was conducted recently at its Tucson, Arizona-based proving ground. Customers of the Early Learner Program saw a 793 fully loaded to its rated capacity and cruising at the 4.3 miles (seven kilometers) long course.
The 793 recorded a top speed of 37.3 miles (60 kilometers) an hour while it climbed up a 0.62 mile (one kilometer) long 10 percent at 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) an hour. Not only did the 793 demonstrate stability while coming downhill on this gradient, but the battery-operated mining truck also captured the energy that would otherwise be lost as heat and used it to charge its batteries.
At the end of the course, the battery of the mining truck had enough juice to do a few more cycles, the press release said. "This demonstration is a significant milestone, and we are excited for these trucks to get to work at customers’ sites around the world in the near future,” said Group President Denise Johnson.
The mining site of the future
Caterpillar, however, is not limiting its efforts to the electrification of its fleet alone but investing to transform its Tucson Proving Ground into a "mining site of the future".
To do so, the company will install and utilize a variety of renewable energy sources at this site, much similar to solutions that mining companies are likely to install at their sites. This will help Caterpillar understand what a mining site will look like in the future and support its customers to bring about this change at their sites too.
Among the technologies identified by Caterpillar to be installed at the Tucson Proving Ground are advancements such as green hydrogen production, natural gas and hydrogen reciprocating engine power generation, fuel cell power generation, and expanded energy storage systems.
"We know it will take an integrated, site-level solution for miners to achieve their carbon-reduction goals"
In the near future, renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, and hydrogen will also be used to power the site and Caterpillar's own products as they become electrified, the press release said.
"The transformation of the Tucson Proving Ground allows Caterpillar to demonstrate our energy transition commitments and serve as a stronger advisor to customers as we navigate the changes together," added Johnson.
"We know it will take an integrated, site-level solution for miners to achieve their carbon-reduction goals, and we’re here to help as they redefine the way they mine for generations to come.”
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