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Innovators in Charge

Innovators in Charge
This article was published by Eva McKee on 17 August, 2022

In our third instalment on the Charge on Innovation Challenge, we look at two more finalists, DB Engineering & Consulting (DB E&C)/Echion Technologies partnership, and Siemens.

In partnership with Echion Technologies, DB E&C has produced a novel haul truck charging solution. According to the self-proclaimed ‘partners in expertise', "Our Catenary and Advanced Battery Technology system combines proven rail industry technology with cutting edge XNO™ battery chemistry to deliver an unrivalled electric solution". The solution is set to overcome the shortfalls of battery technology by identifying implementation measures and achieving energy budget objectives.

Echion Technologies Commercial Director, Ben Ting, recognised the importance of the initiative, saying he believes it will "transform mining". The company is thrilled to have had its technology acknowledged and they look forward to progressing their work with DB E&C as they proceed past the challenge.

Siemens, the sixth finalist, has been in the game for decades. The company has provided trolley assist and electric drive systems for mining equipment for over forty years and ultra-class haul trucks for twenty-five. Throughout these years, the company has stuck to a consistent "power conversion" approach which has allowed them to remain energy agnostic. Siemens persisted with this method in developing their solution, allowing them to effectively partner with fuel cell and energy storage suppliers just as easily as they had with diesel engine suppliers.

Among the various zero-emission solutions, Siemens' solution stands out due to it already being fully patented. Their solution, "combines a proven off-board energy source (trolley substation and overhead catenary) with on-board energy storage capable of dynamic 6C and >400kWh in-cycle charging while simultaneously providing increased power to the wheels to decrease overall cycle time and increase productivity."

The company has opted for Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) batteries and lithium supercapacitors for their on-board energy storage, stating their choice delivers superior safety, power and cycle life. This on-board energy source not only excels in these areas, but its combined assets give it the ability to power an electric truck during its expected life without substitution. Siemens used their vast experience in electrification to their advantage in approaching the challenge; they hope their solution aids in significantly reducing scope one emissions.

At present, winning innovators are collaborating with mining companies, OEMs and investors to accelerate the development of the technology and encourage the upcoming rollout of zero-emission fleets.

This article was originally published by the Components Only team in the August 2022 issue of "@ The Coal Face" magazine.

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