Ballard and First Mode convert more mining trucks to FCVs

Ballard Power Systems will supply 30 fuel cell modules with a total capacity of 3 megawatts to First Mode to convert diesel dump trucks to combined hydrogen-battery propulsion. The converted dump trucks will operate at First Mode’s test site in Centralia, Washington State.

“Every one of the Ballard fuel cell modules that First Mode retrofits into an ultra-class haul truck means an immediate reduction in diesel fuel use and moving the mining industry another step closer to decarbonization,” says First Mode CEO Julian Soles.

The companies say that the conversions will save approximately 2,600 tons of diesel fuel annually.

“The mining industry annually contributes up to 7 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions and roughly half of these emissions come from mobile diesel applications, including haul trucks, “says Ballard COO David Mucciacciaro.

First Mode entered into an agreement with mining and resources company Anglo American in January 2023 to retrofit more than 400 dump trucks with its nuGen solution and associated infrastructure. Anglo American in turn invested 200 million dollars in First Mode.

“Mining is how the world obtains the materials needed for the clean energy transition, and it is where the carbon footprint starts. This is where the First Mode solution begins; starting at the source, in mining, to replace diesel and accelerate the clean energy transition, “Solaes said at the time.

Anglo American unveiled a prototype of the hydrogen-electric mining vehicle with technology from First Mode and Ballard in May 2022. The truck is being tested at the Mogalakwena mine in northwestern South Africa. According to First Mode, the truck completed initial commissioning in January and was introduced into the mine’s commercial fleet operations, including pit and crusher activities.


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