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Hydra Consortium wants heavy-duty mining equipment to run on renewable hydrogen

Hydrogen station. (Reference image by HenkvD, Wikimedia Commons).

Mining3, a research organization focused on the mining industry, and Engie, a global player in low-carbon energy, announced the starting of operations of the Hydra Consortium, a joint effort aimed at promoting the use of hydrogen fuel cell-based powertrain for heavy-duty mobility within the mining sector.

In a press release, the companies said the Consortium is currently working on building the business case that will support such a goal and which includes a competitiveness analysis and a pre-feasibility and engineering study of a powertrain and the renewable hydrogen value chain. This PFS involves the designing, manufacturing and testing of a 200kW fuel cell plus battery powertrain prototype under mining conditions.

The Consortium is currently working on a business case that includes a pre-feasibility and engineering study of a powertrain and the renewable hydrogen value chain

The project is also expected to support government entities by establishing safety protocols for hydrogen use at scale within the mining industry. 

“We are pleased to be part of this powerful collaboration that brings the vast expertise of its members to decarbonise the mining industry,” Michèle Azalbert, CEO of Engie’s Hydrogen Business Unit, said in the media brief. “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.”

According to Azalbert, the Hydra Consortium has already received some indirect major support. One of its supporters is the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO), which awarded EUR 280,000 in government funding to Mining3 in partnership with CSIRO Chile. 

Mitsui & Co. and Thiess, both active in the mining sector, have provided additional support as part of their commitment to developing sustainable solutions for decarbonizing the resources industry, while 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.