The fuel cell mining vehicles development program: An update

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 96, No. 1074, 2003

M.C. Bétournay, G. Desrivières, P. Laliberté, M. Laflamme, A.R. Miller, D.L. Barnes

Over the last four years, an international initiative, championed by Vehicle Projects LLC, the Fuelcell Propulsion Institute and Natural Resources Canada, has been active in carrying out research projects to prove out the concept of applying fuel cell technology to underground mining vehicles. These have been carried out by a consortium consisting of mining companies, equipment manufacturers, technology developers, national laboratories and consultants, with the participation of Canadian and U.S. mine regulatory agencies. This clean technology, which produces only water and electricity, would allow several advantages to be obtained, in the health area (by eliminating diesel emissions and reducing noise generation), in lowering production costs (such as reducing ventilation required) and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. This paper outlines the results obtained in several key areas, such as, the operation of fuel cells in underground conditions, risk issues related to underground and surface operation of hydrogen vehicles and hydrogen production and delivery systems, and the design and mining performance of the world’s first hydrogen mining vehicle, a mine production locomotive. The work to date on the fuel cell loader, designing the power plant and power transmission systems, operational requirements, and operating cost reductions is also presented.
Mots Clés: Fuel cell,Vehicles, Operating cost reductions, Underground mining.