Dual-fuel hybrid truck captures global attention

New Acland mine workers farewell the truck. Image: New Hope Group.

New Acland mine workers farewell the truck. Image: New Hope Group.

New Hope Group’s New Acland mine in Queensland is proving to be a breeding ground for the latest mining technology, a dual-fuel hybrid truck.

The new system has the ability to convert high horse powered diesel engines from 100 per cent diesel to dual fuel operation using natural gas as the dominant fuel after clocking in more than 6200 hours of trial.

This project represents an industry collaboration between Mine Energy Solutions (MES) which provides the technology, and Hastings Deering its truck and engines, for the past two years.

The hybrid truck significantly reduces the amount of imported diesel used by substituting it with clean natural gas sourced locally, with lots of its systems being automated including refuelling.

This reduces diesel particulate emissions by more than 80 per cent and greenhouse gases by more than 30 percent.

MES chief executive Cameron Smith said, “With over 44,000 mine trucks operating globally, the system could remove 21 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per annum.

“Not only did we prove the durability of all the various components, but as we found the weaknesses, we found innovative and practical solutions together with shareholder Intelligas and our partners at New Acland Coal.”

During the trial, the dual-fuel hybrid truck also reported zero lost time injuries, while cutting refuelling times by 75 per cent.

Operators reported no reduction in truck performance when operating in its hybrid mode, and the engine to run more smoothly in many instances.

New Acland general manager David Vink said, “When MES first looked for project partners in Queensland there was no one interested. But we could see the potential for this technology from the outset.

“Now after nearly 24 months operating on site, clocking more than 6200 hours, we’ve piqued the interest of the big boys and the sceptics.”

The technology has evolved further off the back of data collected as its trial progressed beyond its planned trial for only six months in 2016.

“The success of the trial is evidenced by the fact the idea is being commercialised in central Queensland before being rolled out in other parts of Australia and into North America,” Vink said.

“This is world first technology and we are proud to have been the incubator of it in our own backyard.”