Engie and Mining3’s renewable hydrogen powertrain project has received funding support from the Chilean economic development agency.

A hydrogen fuel cell. Image credit: YouTube

A hydrogen fuel cell. Image credit: YouTube

Engie, a global reference group in low-carbon energy and services, and Mining3, a research organisation in the global mining industry, recently announced funding from the Chilean economic development agency (CORFO) for the Hydra project.

The 252-million Chilean pesos, or the equivalent of 280 000 Euros funding will finance part of this project to design and supply a new powertrain for mining vehicles to run on renewable hydrogen instead of diesel. The Hydra project will work through Mining3’s partnership with CSIRO and CSIRO Chile to accept the CORFO funding.

The Hydra project starts with the prefeasibility and engineering study of the powertrain and the renewable hydrogen refuelling system for mining trucks.

This will be followed by the design and manufacturing of a 100-200kW fuel cell and battery powertrain prototype to test its performance under mining conditions (altitude, dust, temperature, etc.). The tests will provide valuable information to optimise the powertrain design that could replace the traditional diesel powertrain.

In addition, the project will help establish safety protocols for hydrogen use at scale in the mining industry. These protocols for the industry are critical to the successful deployment of hydrogen in the mining industry.

Finally, the project will conduct competitiveness studies for technical and economic validation of the innovative technology, aiding in the adoption and utilisation from national and international mining players. The end goal of the Hydra project is to scale up the solution to convert mining vehicles of several mining sites in Chile.

Chile has great potential to become a world leader in the production of renewable hydrogen. According to data from its Ministry of Energy, this new fuel could mitigate, at the national level, between 17% and 27% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and help achieve the objective of carbon neutrality, while contributing to an environmentally friendly, sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.

“Engie is delighted to be awarded funding from CORFO to support the Hydra project. We believe that renewable hydrogen is key to decarbonising the mining industry. We look forward to joining forces with Mining3 to contribute to Chile’s energy transition and to help kick-start the country’s hydrogen economy,” says Michele Azalbert, CEO of Engie’s Hydrogen Business Unit.

“Mining3 is excited about the CORFO funding announcement and thanks CORFO for supporting the development of hydrogen solutions for future mining. We look forward to collaborating with ENGIE to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments necessary for a sustainable low carbon future for the mining industry. As an industry-led organisation Mining3 is able to leverage its members’ knowledge and feedback to fast track real world decarbonisation solutions,” says Paul Lever, CEO of Mining3.