William’s Role in World’s Largest Fuel Cell Truck 

Formula One specialist brand Williams has designed the powertrain for what it claims to be the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell giant mining hauling truck.

The truck commissioned by mining company, Anglo American, is part of its FutureSmart Mining program, which applies innovative thinking and technological advances to address mining’s major sustainability challenges. The company has committed to reducing its global greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

The FCEV haul truck will be powered by a fuel cell paired with a Williams scalable high-power modular lithium-ion battery system. This system replaces the existing vehicle’s diesel engine and is controlled by a high voltage power distribution unit delivering in excess of 1,000 kWh of energy storage.

Through regenerative braking, the battery system will be capable of recovering energy as the haul truck travels downhill. For the project, Williams has drawn on its experience as the sole battery supplier to the FIA Formula E global motorsport series for the first four seasons. The automaker is also the sole battery supplier to the new FIA Extreme E racing program, which begins in 2021.

The company says the electric power will also deliver the robustness seen in industrial diesel engines for harsh environments. The power units will be designed and built at Williams Advanced Engineering plant, in Grove, Oxfordshire, UK, and integrated into an existing mining haul truck, with testing taking place later this year at the Mogalakwena platinum group metals mining operation in South Africa, Anglo American’s flagship PGMs mine.

In line with Anglo American’s commitment to sustainable mining, studies will take place after the initial trials to understand how these power units can be used to provide energy storage in second life applications. Craig Wilson, managing of Williams Advanced Engineering, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this innovative and exciting project which showcases the scalability of battery technology from automotive and motorsport to “heavy duty” industrial applications. Operating within a harsh environment is something we are familiar with as sole battery supplier for the Extreme E program and we remain committed to supporting long-term sustainability projects.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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