Longtime GeekWire science writer and contributing editor Alan Boyle covered the launch of the world’s largest zero-emission vehicle at Anglo American’s Mogalakwena mine site in South Africa, focusing on the work done by First Mode in Seattle over multiple years to enable the success of the project.

Article excerpt:

After years of development, the world’s largest zero-emission vehicle was unveiled today at a South African platinum mine, with a hydrogen-fueled hybrid powerplant designed and built by Seattle-based First Mode.

Anglo American’s three-story-tall, 200-ton nuGen hybrid mining truck received a grand sendoff from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Mogalakwena open-pit platinum mine.

“It is a smart step for Anglo American, but a giant leap for South Africa’s hydrogen economy as we move into the future,” Ramaphosa said. “The hydrogen economy is beckoning us as a country and as an industry.”

Chris Voorhees, president and CEO of First Mode, said zero-emission industrial power will play a key role in addressing the global climate crisis. Large trucks currently account for 70% to 80% of diesel fuel consumption at Anglo American’s mines, but one nuGen truck is expected to keep the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions from 700 cars out of the atmosphere. …

Anglo American’s nuGen truck gets its fuel from a solar-powered hydrogen production plant in Mogalakwena. The 2-megawatt hybrid powerplant — developed by First Mode in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, Ballard, ENGIE and NPROXX — makes use of a hydrogen fuel cell system that delivers up to 800 kilowatts of power, plus a 1.2 megawatt-hour battery pack.

The converted Komatsu 930E truck is designed to haul up to 290 tons of ore. During today’s debut at the Mogalakwena platinum mine, it carried 150 tons of ore up a 7% incline and then dropped off its payload.

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