AMSJ » Replacing diesel heavy vehicles with battery electric is economical says employer

Replacing diesel heavy vehicles with battery electric is economical says employer

Komatsu driverless trucks
Dump truck

A resources producer found affordable ways to completely transition away from fossil fuels.

Replacing an entire diesel mobile fleet is not cost prohibitive according to a new study.

ABB and Perenti Group recently estimated operating expenditure would only need to increase slightly before going 100 per cent battery electric at IGO’s Cosmos nickel mine.

“The net present cost of transitioning Cosmos to a battery electric vehicle (BEV) fleet was an additional 6 per cent compared to the diesel base case. This cost differential could be expected to be quickly closed in the event of either rising diesel prices, an increased internal carbon price or with a decrease in battery and BEV prices,” ABB and Perenti said in a mining electrification white paper.

Additionally, total power consumption could decrease because BEVs require less mine cooling and ventilation compared to diesel alternatives.

“Eliminating diesel emissions and reducing heat generation (electric versus diesel motors produce less waste heat) through electrification can depending on circumstances reduce the ventilation and cooling infrastructure required underground, indirectly reducing capital demands,” the paper said.

“Higher tramming speeds and increased breakout force of electric load haul dump loaders and trucks (compared to their diesel equivalents) may directly translate to increased production output [too].”

A BEV fleet could even improve workplace health and safety through improving air quality and reducing the risk of injury.

“An electric fleet eliminates exhaust and diesel particulate matter during underground operations, reduces vibration levels experienced by operators and decreases noise impacts on personnel,” the paper said.

Even though management decided to place the mine in care and maintenance at the beginning of 2024, the study showed it is still more economical to completely replace diesel machinery at the operation.

“This decision was made independently of the results of the study and does not affect the study’s positive underlying findings on the feasibility of transitioning to a fully electric underground mining fleet,” the paper said.

Click here to read the full mining electrification white paper.

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