Every segment using internal combustion engines is trying to figure out ways to lessen carbon emissions. The mining industry, with its thousands of trucks in use, is no exception. So now Rolls-Royce has stepped in to try and provide an answer that mining companies can buy. It has developed a way for these trucks to maintain existing performance while lessening emissions.
These Rolls-Royce-powered trucks are massive and must perform in extreme conditions
These trucks are massive and must work in a huge range of environments. Whether steep inclines, high altitudes, extremes in temperature, or while dust storms blow, it must perform. Perform 24 hours a day at times. And that’s with 450 tons dumped into its bed.
Rolls-Royce Power Systems has come up with a hybrid mining truck that has improved a number of capabilities. The standard mtu (Rolls-Royce) diesel engine gets replaced with a smaller diesel engine with a hybrid-electric system. Through braking energy winding its way down a hill, that provides enough energy to power the truck back up.
In this way, C02 emissions are reduced. A 1,163 KW V16 engine combined with hybrid power reduces emissions by 30-percent according to Mining Magazine. Performance remains the same as with an engine twice as large.
What if the mining truck is working in areas off of the grid?
But many of these mining operations are done in areas off of the grid. What if the batteries need recharging? Rolls- Royce has that figured out with a microgrid application.
Microgrid supply systems work in remote areas where there is no public power. A combination of renewable energy sources, storage systems, and a mtu diesel or gas engine generator, they’re controlled at a central location to generate the necessary power. What we don’t know is whether the added diesel and gas generators still contribute to the 30-percent reduction in emissions.
While we half expect that hybrid solutions have blanketed categories where C02 emissions are regulated. But the Rolls-Royce effort appears to be the first. At least for these humungous mining trucks.
Rolls-Royce has been making massive commercial engines for decades
Don’t forget that besides building luxury vehicles forever, Rolls-Royce is also an engine maker. For decades it has supplied engines for passenger jets. And before that, it was making engines for WWII, which were used in many military applications built in America.
So it has the ability to offer solutions for unique engine applications like mining trucks, as obscure as they are. But there are other ideas floating around that parallel those happening with passenger cars. Both hydrogen-powered engines and fuel cells are being looked at.
Whether they ever make their way into commercial use we won’t know for a while. But companies are finding increased scrutiny for how they pollute. So running fleets that carry a smaller footprint is finding favor with various governments, consumers, and stockholders as well.