Above: A two-megawatt hydrogen-fueled powerplant, designed and built by First Mode in Seattle, is installed in a haul truck at Anglo American’s platinum mine at Mogalakwena, South Africa. This vehicle is the world’s largest zero-emission truck. Image credit: Anglo American
MOGALAKWENA, South Africa and SEATTLE , May 6, 2022 — The world’s largest zero-emission haul truck made its debut today, powered by creative engineering firm First Mode’s clean energy innovation. The ultra-class haul truck once burned thousands of gallons of diesel fuel per year, but now it’s powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-ion battery powerplant designed and built by First Mode engineers in Seattle.
As tall as a three-story building and weighing 200 tons empty, this truck can carry up to 290 tons of ore. Deploying Anglo American and First Mode’s zero-emission power source keeps 700 cars’ worth of carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere. Large trucks currently account for 70-80% of diesel fuel consumption at Anglo American’s mine sites.
“At First Mode, we know we are at a ‘fire-everything’ moment. The urgency in front of us requires that we deploy every tool and every technology to battle climate change,” said Chris Voorhees, president and CEO of First Mode. “I’m so proud of the team and our partnership with Anglo American, focused on decarbonization at the source to affect the meaningful, necessary change we all seek. We hope that this zero-emission clean energy breakthrough will inspire others to create significant action in the fight for our planet.”
The mining industry accounts for approximately 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions, with diesel haul trucks representing as much as 50% of total energy use at mine sites. According to the World Economic Forum, the transition to clean energy needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change could require as much as 3 billion tons of metals, for batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, and other devices.
First Mode continues to hire worldwide, targeting rapid growth at its headquarters and hardware development centers in Seattle, and its new 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Perth, Australia.
About First Mode
First Mode is a creative engineering company building the barely possible to enable a sustainable future for everyone. We design and deliver critically needed products and technologies focused on zero-emission mobility, decarbonization of heavy industry, and production and distribution of green hydrogen. Our engineers in Seattle and Perth empower our clients to leverage cutting-edge solutions to achieve their sustainability objectives and help our planet survive and thrive.