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Forget an electric 70 Series LandCruiser: The world's biggest hydrogen-powered mining truck proves green power can move mountains

Meet the world's biggest hydrogen-powered truck!

While Australian miners are getting busy with electrified examples of the Toyota 70 Series LandCruiser - and H2X is converting Ford Rangers into hydrogen fuel cell vehicles - South African mining firm Anglo American is thinking a little bigger.

Actually, make that a lot bigger, with the company unveiling the NuGen mining truck, or what it's calling the "world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck".

It is, needless to say, a significant beast, with the hydrogen-battery truck able to be loaded with a 290-tonne payload, and fitted with a 1.2MWh battery pack. That's 1200kWh, or around 15 Kia EV6 batteries combined. All up, they should weigh in excess of 7000 kilograms.

Drawing from "multiple fuel cells" the mining mammoth also generates 800kW of power, and will be refuelled via a new hydrogen production and refuelling facility in South Africa that is also home to Africa's largest electrolyser and a vast solar array that will produce green hydrogen. It means the mining outfit is essentially self-sufficient, being able to produce its own green hydrogen, and refuel the NuGen, on site.

Eventually the monster truck - and others like it - will join daily mining operations, where it will dive into the company's open-pit platinum mine. The idea, says Anglo American's chief executive, Duncan Wanblad, is to attack diesel emissions, which not only plague traditional mining vehicles, but are particularly challenging in mining environments.

The truck, and its successors, would eventually replace a 40-strong fleet of ICE vehicles that each drink a million litres of diesel per annum.

"NuGen is a tangible demonstration of our FutureSmart Mining programme changing the future of our industry. With diesel emissions from our haul truck fleet accounting for 10-15 percent of our total Scope 1 emissions, this is an important step on our pathway to carbon neutral operations by 2040," Mr Wanblad says.

“Over the next several years, we envisage converting or replacing our current fleet of diesel-powered trucks with this zero-emission haulage system, fuelled with green hydrogen. If this pilot is successful, we could remove up to 80 percent of diesel emissions at our open pit mines by rolling this technology across our global fleet.”