Transport & Distribution

New battery system to power electric mining truck

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) today announced an agreement to design, build, test and integrate a battery system to power an electric mining haul truck.

The project will involve the design and construction of a bespoke battery electric powertrain with the ability to regenerate power as the truck travels downhill. The battery will be built at WAE’s facility in Grove, Oxfordshire, UK before being shipped to Perth, Australia for integration into a 240-tonne prototype haul truck for performance testing at Fortescue’s iron ore mining operations in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

To support the full implementation of a battery-electric haulage fleet, the project will also involve the development of a fast-charging unit which will harness renewable energy from Fortescue’s Pilbara Energy Connect network.

For the project, WAE will be drawing on its high-performance battery expertise, which lies at the core of the business, covering the automotive, motorsport, marine, and aerospace sectors. The company was the original supplier of batteries to the entire grid of FIA Formula E World Championship cars in 2014, a relationship that has been revived for 2022-23 season.

According to Craig Wilson, managing director at Williams Advanced Engineering, high performance battery systems are at the core of WAE. “Both companies have a shared culture for innovation and rapid response and are committed to creating a sustainable future,’’ says Wilson.

Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines says that climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the planet. “Fortescue is committed to tackle this challenge head on through our industry leading target to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040. This includes a 26% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions from existing operations from 2020 levels by 2030.

With around a quarter of these emissions attributed to our mobile haul fleet, this represents a significant opportunity to drive our pathway to being diesel free. Fortescue’s history of developing and adopting innovation and technology has been key to the success of our business and in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, we look forward to applying this technology-first strategy to our emissions reduction pathway,” says Gaines.

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