GM and Komatsu Forge Hydrogen-Powered Future for Mining Trucks

General Motors and Komatsu are joining forces to develop hydrogen fuel cell modules for the 930E mining truck, paving the way for sustainable heavy-duty applications. The collaboration aims to revolutionize the mining industry, offering zero-emission solutions and driving towards carbon neutrality

GM and Komatsu Forge Hydrogen-Powered Future for Mining Trucks

Detroit, United States- General Motors Co (GM) and Komatsu Ltd., are set to co-develop a hydrogen fuel cell power module for Komatsu’s 930E electric drive mining truck, renowned as the world’s best-selling ultra-class haul truck. Leveraging GM's leadership in hydrogen fuel cell technology and Komatsu's global expertise in mining and construction equipment, the companies aim to jointly design and validate this innovative solution.

Hydrogen fuel cells, known for their lightweight nature and rapid refueling capabilities, emerge as an ideal alternative for electrifying applications traditionally reliant on diesel engines. This technology ensures the efficient storage of substantial energy quantities on the vehicle, all while maintaining payload carrying capacity—a crucial aspect for heavy-duty applications.

The collaboration addresses the zero-emissions challenge posed by extreme hauling requirements, exemplified by the Komatsu 930E mining truck boasting a nominal payload of 320 tons. These mining vehicles, typically stationed at a single mine throughout their operational life, simplify the implementation of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure tailored to service the entire fleet.

Charlie Freese, Executive Director of GM’s Global HYDROTEC business, said that, “At GM, we believe fuel cells can play an integral role in a zero-emissions future, helping to electrify heavier-duty applications, beyond passenger vehicles. Mining trucks are among the largest, most capable vehicles used in any industry, and we believe hydrogen fuel cells are best suited to deliver zero emissions propulsion to these demanding applications.”

Komatsu, aiming to reduce global emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, sees the fuel cell-powered mining trucks as a pivotal step towards decarbonization without the need for additional charging infrastructure within mines.

Dan Funcannon, Vice President of North America Engineering and Development for Komatsu, said that, “Finding new ways to power the equipment our customers need to do the vital work of mining and construction is a critical part of our commitment to supporting a more sustainable future.”

The first prototype HYDROTEC-powered mining vehicle is scheduled for testing in the mid-2020s at Komatsu’s Arizona Proving Grounds (AZPG) research and development facility. This groundbreaking vehicle will be fueled by over 2 megawatts of HYDROTEC power cubes, marking a significant leap forward in the pursuit of sustainable and zero-emission heavy-duty applications.