Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), the green energy arm of Fortescue Metals Group, has taken delivery of Australia’s first battery system designed specifically for use in an EV mining truck. The battery will be fitted to a prototype Leibherr hauler co-developed with FFI before going into the field at Fortescue’s iron ore mines in WA’s Pilbara.
The battery, assembled by WAE Technologies in the UK (a company FFI acquired in January, 2022) is the largest of its kind, measuring 3.6m long, 1.6m wide, 2.4m high and weighing 15 tonnes. Made up of eight sub-packs, each with 36 modules, all individually cooled and each with its own battery management system, this pioneering battery is the result of development by 50 engineers and technicians at WAE, who have experience with this technology, having developed similar battery solutions for large commercial vehicles in the past.
Intended for integration into a 240-tonne mining haul truck, the WAE battery has a 1.4MWh storage capacity (the highest of its kind), the ability to fast charge in just 30 minutes and can regenerate power as the vehicle it’s fitted to is being driven downhill, ie. regenerative braking.
With these features, FFI says the battery sets the pace for ground-breaking innovation in heavy industry and will be integral to FFI’s US$6.2 billion strategy to eliminate fossil fuels from its terrestrial iron ore operations. FFI’s ultimate goal is to replace its entire diesel-fuelled fleet with battery electric and green hydrogen powered haul trucks.
“WAE and Fortescue are working together to decarbonise faster and more effectively than any other major industrial company in the world,” said FFI CEO Mark Hutchinson.
“The battery system, designed for our zero-emission battery electric mining haul trucks, is an important part of our strategy to reach real zero terrestrial emissions (Scope 1 and 2) across our iron operations by 2030.
“WAE’s battery expertise complements FFI’s green hydrogen projects and cements Fortescue as a leader in the technologies needed for the green energy transition.”
WAE Technologies CEO Craig Wilson added: “This high-performance power system not only boasts the highest energy storage of its kind, but will also be the first to offer 30-min fast charging.
“This system is the first of many technologies that can help Fortescue to realise its industry leading 2030 net-zero target. Powered solely by renewable energy, it will help prevent enormous amounts of fossil fuel from being used in the mining industry, with the [additional] goal to not compromise the vehicle’s load capacity.
“This is an inspiring example of what can be achieved combining Fortescue’s pioneering green energy vision for its global vehicles and WAE’s extensive expertise in advanced batteries.”