The mining industry plays a vital role in the Canadian economy, as it is one of the major leading industries in the country. To extract mineral products from mining sites, companies use machinery and vehicles that are powerful, but also highly energy-intensive.
Faced with growing environmental and economic challenges, the mining industry is looking at ways to reduce its use of vehicles running on fossil fuels, which represent high operating costs and contribute to significant greenhouse gas emissions.
To support the sector in meeting this challenge, the NRC's Automotive and Surface Transportation Research Centre team, in collaboration with l'Institut du véhicule innovant (IVI) and Propulsion Québec, have launched an innovative project to electrify a mining vehicle. As part of this project, led under the Vehicle Propulsion Technologies R&D program, whose objective is to help companies develop, optimize and test technologies to improve the performance, efficiency and safety of electric vehicles, the NRC team will be responsible for assisting in the design, testing and evaluation of the system and battery.
"We are proud to carry out this project in collaboration with industry partners Adria Power Systems, Dana TM4, Fournier & Sons and Nouveau Monde Graphite, to find a sustainable solution to fundamental energy issues. We have advanced expertise and infrastructure in battery development and evaluation which will prove essential for the adoption of this new technology,"
Consuming an average of 80,000 litres of fuel per year, electrifying a single vehicle represents a potential reduction in emissions of 220 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) annually and will therefore generate a significant reduction in operating costs. By way of comparison, Natural Resources Canada data shows that a regular vehicle, which burns 2,000 litres of gasoline a year, releases about 4.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, nearly 50 times less than a mining vehicle.
Guided by the new Global Mining Standards and Guidelines(GMSG), the project will allow the development of a brand new electric propulsion system suitable for heavy vehicles as well as its rapid charging infrastructure. The chosen technological solution will be highly innovative and will be designed to be transferable to other types of heavy mining vehicles. The prototype is expected to make its debut in the spring of 2022.
This project, which marks a milestone in the electrification of heavy vehicles in North America, is funded by Natural Resources Canada's Clean Growth Program, and the Ministère de l'économie et de l'innovation du Québec's Innov‑R program. Funding is also provided by the Société du Plan Nord's Fonds d'initiatives du Plan Nord.
The NRC is pleased to engage in initiatives promoting sustainable development, clean energy and the establishment of robust and resilient infrastructure.